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Full text of "Popular Mechanics South Africa 2012-05"

GARDEN UPGRADE - BUILD A QUIRKY WATER FEATURE 



FORD FOCUS 
WORTH OVER 
R230 000 




DIGITISE YOUR HOME MOVIES 
WHEN GADGET BATTERIES DIE 
RUNNING LOW ON DISC SPACE 
PIRATED MUSIC: A BIG DEAL? 



WORLDS LARGEST PLANE 
LAUNCHES SPACE ROCKETS 



9 771682 " 513003 



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THEY'RE POWERED BY THE SUN 



LOTS OF 

GREAT 

GADGETS 




i FLYING HIGH 

I ANATOMY OF A 

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i IN THE SKY . 







Takes bumps easily^- 

Control Blade Independent 
Rear Suspension 



Takes corners precisely 

Torque Vectoring Control® 



• Takes your safety seriously 

5-star NCAP rating 



ALL-NEW FOCUS. 
Start more than a car. 



www.ford.co.za 






&toct 



Go Further 



WELCOME TO THE FUTURE. 

INTERESTING SHOCKS. 



PREPARE FOR SOME 



Way back in 1970, futurist 
Alvin Toffler argued that 
the accelerated rate of tech- 
nological and social change 
accompanying society's transition 
to a "super-industrial society" 
was leaving people disconnected, 
and suffering from stress and 
disorientation. In his eponymous, 
best-selling book, he defined 
"future shock" as a personal 
perception of too much change 
in too short a period of time. 
Interestingly, he popularised 
the term "information over- 
load" long before the arrival 
of the Internet. 

Where does this leave us? 
Are we vastly better informed 
than our parents*, or are we - 
as technophobes and especially 
jaundiced sceptics would have it 

- no better than aggregators of 
irrelevant and inconsequential 
scraps? Are we overwhelmed 
by a tsunami of information 
that shows no sign of letting up? 
If so, are we ignoring telltale 
cracks in our collective psyche? 

It's all about choice, really, 
and if we take a little care, we 
won't lose the plot. Most of the 
information we want or need is 
out there; it's up to us to locate, 
filter, verify and use it to our 
best advantage. To simplify the 
process, it makes sense to iden- 
tify a like-minded person or 
organisation to do the hard 
work for you - Popular Mechanics, 
for example. 

We do our best to provide a 
compelling mix of content span- 
ning a broad range of interests 

- as spelled out by you in our 
regular audience surveys - and 
deliver that content across multi- 
ple channels. We cannot possibly 
give you everything you want, 
but at least we can steer you in 
the right direction. 



Some examples: in this 
month's issue, we offer dis- 
tinctly useful advice on freeing 
up computer disc space, com- 
ment on music piracy (yes, it 
remains ethically unsound) and 
tell you how to digitise your 
old home movies. Our cover 
story describes a huge aircraft, 
developed under a veil of 
secrecy, that's destined to 
launch a two-stage rocket into 
orbit (read about the Strato- 
launch project, starting on 
page 20). Will this change your 
life? Possibly not, at least in 
the immediate future. Do you 
need to know about it? Damn 
right you do. 

In keeping with our policy 
of surprising (and hopefully, 
impressing) PM readers at every 
opportunity, we present a short 
essay on sexual conflict theory 
by David Buss, a professor of 
psychology at the University 
of Texas. Here's an extract: 
"Conversely, women sometimes 
present themselves as costless 
sexual opportunities, and then 
intercalate themselves into a 
man's mating mind to such a 
profound degree that he wakes 
up one morning and suddenly 
realises that he can't live with- 
out her - one version of the 
'bait and switch' tactic in 
women's evolved arsenal." 

Does this sort of thing belong 
in the pages of Popular Mechanics? 
Hey, it's anthropology; of course 
it does. 



*Ys, 



aland@rawsaymediaxo.za 



* Are we indeed better informed 
than our parents? Yes. 




Calling all inventors - again 

| We are about to call for entries into the 2012 Popular Mechanics 

Inventor of the Year competition, so if you have an invention that 

deserves attention, now's the time to get your act together. 

In the coming weeks and months, we'll be providing details of 

the rules, categories, entry and other essential information, including 

an announcement about big prize money. See page 60. 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




Page 20 




Page 76 




Associate editor Sean Woods gets a chance to burn some rubber 
around Kyalami race track, courtesy of Fantastic Racing, while 
attending a Nivea for Men product launch. Go figure. 



COMPETITION WINNERS... Details online at www.populanveclwnics.coJ8 



Popular 
Mechanics 

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW 



CONTENTS 

MAY 2012 VOLUME 10, NO. 10 



FEATURES 



20 Stratolaunch 

World's largest aircraft is already under 
construction (Cover story) 

29 Why Titanic still matters 

An iceberg didn't sink the ship: human errors did 

42 On the edge 

In pursuit of elegant explanations 

82 One Life 

Amazing images from new BBC documentary 

86 Anatomy of AHRLAC 

PM gets under the skin of SA's ground- 
breaking reconnaissance plane 

EUGI 

38 When need meets desire 

Gadgets, decisions... 

56 Digital clinic Q&A 

• Why batteries are the weak link 

• Trash talk from your computer 

• Pirated music: it's a big deal 

64 DIY tech 

Digitise your home movies 

74 Glow, man, glow 

Shedding new light on electroluminescence 

76 Taking the green route 

Gearing up for the 2012 South African Solar 
Challenge 



H9H1 

12 Techwatch 

• An island is born 

• Rise of the fishermen 

• Earth's uneven axis 

• Apache helicopter upgrade 



OUTSIDE 



68 Climbing the iron way 

Achieving new heights with via ferrata 



40 Jay Leno's garage 

Getting to grips with the 1916 Owen Magnetic 

46 New on the block 

• Ultimate Lambo 

• Electric mobility 

• Audi, Renault get connected 

• Hush-hush tyres 

96 Car clinic Q&A 

• Replace weatherstripping 

• Don't skimp on O-rings 



PM DIGITAL 



98 • Addiction alert: debut of Angry Birds Space 

• Check out new trailer for The Avengers 

• Win Bosch sanders worth R1 400 

• Win DataTraveler USB flash drives 

• Win A Klarus XT1 1 tactical torch 

Hi 

61 DIY home Q&A 

• Run-off fixes for the house on a hill 

• Are peel-and-stick tiles any good? 

• How to put wheels on your mitre saw 

90 Perpetual water tap 

Build this unusual feature for your garden 



HB 


1 


Editor's notes 


4 


Contact us 


7 


Letters 


10 


Time machine 


32 


Great stuff 


112 


Do it your way 



On the cover: Designed by aeronautical genius Burt Rutan and 
backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the world's largest 
plane will launch payloads - and eventually, astronauts - into orbit. 
Due to fly in 2015, the aircraft is rendered by Vladimir Shelest. 
This page: An artist's concept of the locally developed AHRLAC 
reconnaissance aircraft. 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




I 







OPULARMECHANICS.C0.2A • MAY 20 



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Total monthly sales: 45 577 (October to December 2011) 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



DO ONE THING 
THAT SCARES VOU. 
EVERY DAY. 

Choose the coupe or the convertible. Get in. Feel it. Be moved. 
And ask yourself: "How alive are you?" 

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LETTERS 





L 



OKAY, SO LIFE 
IS DOOMED 

Your article on the many ways in which civilised 

life on Earth could come to an end ("Game over?", 

March issue) sketches some terrifying and realistic 

scenarios. However, you might have added the 

fact that the sixth mass extinction of species in our 

planet's history is already under way - and no horror 

from the skies was needed to trigger it. Earth has 

been through five major extinctions, starting with the Ordovician-Silurian 

catastrophe that put an end to most of the brachiopods, conodonts and 

trilobites that inhabited the Earth 450 million years ago, and most recently 

the KT-event that culled the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. 

However, in March last year, Nature published a study by Anthony Barnosky 
titled, "Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived?" His answer was 
yes, probably, and what makes this mass extinction so unlike the previous 
five is that life seems to be destroying itself. 

One need only look at the figures: according to the WWF's biannual Living 
Planet report, the number of animals on Earth has decreased by 30 per cent 
since 1970. The WWF predicts ecological collapse by 2050. The UN's Global 
Diversity Outlook of 2006 confirms this and states: "In effect, we are currently 
responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of the Earth, 
the greatest since the dinosaur disappeared 65 million years ago." 

Where Earth's natural extinction rate for species is about 30 a year, current 
estimates are that we have pushed it up to 300 a year. These figures are 
almost unprecedented outside a scenario of nuclear winter caused by a space 
rock impact or super-volcano eruption. 

It would take no more than the destruction of a key group of species to 
collapse the food chain, and the environment with it. The ongoing decimation 
of pollinating bees in North America and Europe (due to pesticides, electric 
wiring and the globalisation of insect diseases) is just one of many indications 
that this could happen soon. Bee diseases such as foul brood, previously 
unknown in South Africa, have also been imported to the Western Cape in 
the last few years. Hopefully, when an extra-terrestrial intelligence visits our 
lifeless planet some day in the future, they might take a few lessons away 
from this. For us, though, it is probably already too late. 

JOHANNES BERTUS DE VILLIERS 
JOHANNESBURG 



Write to us, engage us in debate, and you could win a cool prize; this 
month's best letter wins a desirable Luminox 0201 (Sentry 0200 series) 
watch worth R3 000. The Swiss-made Sentry Series is a vintage-inspired, 
cushion-shaped watch that's perfect for sporting and outdoor enthusiasts 
as well as real-fife sentries on duty around the world. Among its key 
features: bold, oversized numbers on the even hours, Luminox Light 
Technology, reinforced polymer compound case, rotating bezel, water- 
resistant to 10 atmospheres. The Luminox watch is available from premium 
watch retailers nationwide. For more information, call: 011-486 6015. 

Send your letter to: Popular Mechanics, PO Box 180, Howard Place 7450 or 
e-mail popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za Please keep it short and to 
the point. Regrettably, prizes can be awarded only to South African residents. 



J 



No fat for wild birds, please 

A hint on your back page titled "Eco- 
friendly bird food" (Do it your way", 
January issue) recommends feeding fat 
to wild birds. My wife, who has carried 
out considerable research on wild birds, 
says this is a very bad idea. Her comment: 
"Feeding fat to wild birds is unwise. Having 
rehabilitated wild birds for over 30 years, 
and done intensive dietary studies to find 
the best substitute food for captive birds, 
I've found that feeding them fat causes 
severe liver damage. 

"The reason: our birds don't have the 
enzyme to break down cholesterol, where- 
as in the colder climates, where tempera- 
tures get to well below 5 degrees Celsius, 
the birds do have that enzyme. If you 
really want to encourage birds to visit 
your garden, put out some low-fat dog 
pellets soaked in water; it's far healthier. 
Or better still, start breeding your own 
colony of meal-worms." 

LESLEY BENTLEY 
VIA E-MAIL 



Know your knots 

I've just discovered a whole new world, and 
thought I would share it with you. At the 
beginning of the year, I set the goal of 
learning how to tie three useful knots. 
After researching the subject, and prac- 
ticing for a week, I realized that three 
knots were not enough, and I decided 
to expand my repertoires. This pattern 
repeated itself, and after two months, I 
have settled on about 20 must-know knots. 

Practical applications? Here's an example: 
after struggling for many years, I can now 
tie down a load on my bakkie securely and 
with as much tension as I wish, yet do so in 
a way that the knots are amazingly quick 
and easy to undo (I use a "trucker's hitch"). 
Employing a double or triple "sheet bend", 
I can join two pieces of rope of unequal 
thickness in such a way that the joined 
pieces are strong enough to tow a boat. 

Just a few days ago, a friend and I 
abseiled to the ground from my apart- 
ment's balcony. The only kit we used for 
this adventure, aside from some 10 mm 
static rope, were two mini HMS carabiners 
(R190 each) and a set of garden gloves. 
We rigged up a belay line and had safety 
cords at the top for double redundancy 
at every point in the system. We made 
simple but effective harnesses using some 
rope and a few clever knots. 

And then the fun began. The knots we 
used in our system included the "bowline 
with two-turns", the "figure-8 rethread", 
the "double figure-8" (aka "bunny ears"), 
the "alpine butterfly", the "double fisher- 
man's", and finally, a wonderful little knot 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



LETTERS 








It's about gravity, guys 

The reader project featured in your 
March issue ("DIY load bed extension", 
Letters page) refers. The innovative plans 
conjured up by South Africans, of the "boer 
maak 'n plan" variety, are commendable 
and sometimes astounding. However, I 
feel PM should warn its readers of the 
danger incurred when shifting the centre 
of gravity backwards in a bakkie. In this 
case, it could significantly reduce the con- 
tact between the road and the vehicle's 
front wheels, causing it to drift; on corru- 
gated dirt or wet roads, the consequences 
could be fatal. We should remember that 
a vehicle's centre of gravity is one of the 
main concerns of engineers when they 
design a vehicle. 

EUGENE JAIMSEN VAN VUUREN 
PRETORIA 

Just fishing? 

I have just read the letter by Travis J 
Carlson regarding his bakkie load bed 
extension, and I found it rather worrying. 
The manufacturer designed the vehicle 
to carry a certain load in a certain size of 
load bed. By extending that bed and 
placing weight further back in the vehicle, 
behind the rear axle, you might cause the 
vehicle to become unstable. However, Mr 
Carlson doesn't say what this extra space 
is used for. If it's just to accommodate an 
extra-long fishing rod, no problem, but if 
he's planning to toss in six bags of cement, 
oh dear... 

DEREK WALKER 
JOHANNESBURG 



called the "Munter hitch", which allows 
you to abseil using only a piece of rope 
and an HMS carabiner. 

I turn 31 this year and I want to kick 
myself for waiting this long to learn a 
few useful knots. 

FRANCOIS VILJOEN 
VIA E-MAIL 



Signs ol lite 

There are many reported cases of elderly 
and infirm people living on their own, with 



infrequent visits from relatives, suffering 
a fatal stroke or heart attack. Tragically, 
their bodies are discovered by chance only 
after days or weeks have gone by. Surely 
someone could develop a microchip implant 
that could send text messages to prese- 
lected cellphone numbers if the life signs 
should cease? 

ALBY VAN ZYL 
KRUGERSDORP 



In hot water 

The article titled "Boiling point" (Car Clinic, 
March issue) refers. You offer some valid 
causes for overheating problems when a 
car is stuck in traffic, but you failed to 
mention some other, very common causes: 
failure of the thermostat, failure of the 
electrical circuit that controls the cooling 
fans, and failure of the fans themselves. 
That said, many thanks for an excellent 
publication. 

DAVE BACHE 
SOMERSET WEST 



Great car, but what's the 
point? 

I was fascinated by your article on the 
McLaren MP4-12C ("Pulse of a supercar", 
December 2011). I have been a rabid 
sportscar and motorsport enthusiast since 
the early Fifties. As such, I could relate 
entirely to the superlatives that rolled off 
your pen as you described the sensations 
experienced during your session with this 
remarkable car. 

It bristles with examples of the most 
sophisticated technology available. What's 
more, it achieves a staggering level of 
performance, including a maximum speed 
in the region of 330 km/h, all of which 
prompts my question: What is the point 
of it all? How many places are there in the 
world where one can drive at the speeds 
mentioned, considering that speeds on most 
of the world's roads and highways are limit- 
ed to about one-third of this car's maxi- 
mum? And how many people are capable 
of handling performance at this level? 

ALAN CHOWLES 
BRACKENFELL 



Give credit where it's due 

Having just read a back issue of PM that I 
missed earlier this year ("101 gadgets that 
changed your world", August 2011), I must 
point out an error relating to the invention 
of radio. This is credited to Marconi - a 
common error. In fact, Nikola Tesla invent- 
ed the first working wireless, even though 
the find was credited to the Italian. After 



lengthy court battles, the patent was even- 
tually placed in Tesla's name. Tesla was a 
fascinating and quite brilliant inventor, if 
somewhat eccentric. His theory regard- 
ing wireless electricity is one that still 
fascinates me today. 

ADRIAN EDWARDS 
VIA E-MAIL 
Editor's note: Actually, our article stated 
that radio was patented (not invented) by 
Marconi, "who based his work on techno- 
logy developed by Nikola Tesla". For the 
most succinct account of what happened, 
visit this site: http://to.pbs.org/14wwZM 



Ghosts ain't heavy 

In your Feb 2012 issue, you published an 
article on Jimmy Leeward's fatal crash in 
2011. 

You refer to the "6-ton World War II 
P-51D fighter" plummeting into the crowd. 
My problem is with the stated weight of 
the plane: operationally loaded, the P51D 
Mustang should weigh only 3 465 kg, or 
4 175 kg with a full complement of ammu- 
nition and fuel - which is still far off 6 tons. 

I know that The Galloping Ghost was a 
P51D-15-NA, and that aside from having 
about 3 m clipped from the wingspan, 
the previous owners (including Leeward) 
reduced a lot of weight in a bid for higher 
low-level speed. I thus find it highly unlikely 
that his plane could have weighed 6 tons 
on the day of the incident. Regardless, I 
love your mag. 

ENSLIN VAN NIEKERK 

PRETORIA PM 



MONTHLY POLL 



Do you think the world will end 
in 2012? 

Yes. There are many prophetic signs 
that the world is coming to an end - 
earthquakes, war, you name it 12% 

No. According to real scientific 
evidence, the world will not end in 
2012. 88% 




Conducted online at www.popularmechanics. 
co.za - visit PM's Web site to vote in our 
current poll. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




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1939 



Back in the day, judging 
by this advertisement, a 
skinny physique was a 
sure recipe for failure - especially 
when it came to women. All it 
took to cure this awful affliction 
was a bottle of "ironised yeast" 
tablets. As one happy customer 
revealed; "My new huskiness and 
pep has brought me lots of new 
friends, too." 




1959 



Preparing for human-powered flight, Dr WR 
Wilkie of the University College of London 
(the man coupled to the weird-looking 
machine) helps aviation scientists to determine the 
amount of power that could be produced by a man 
pedalling a bicycle. The first officially authenticated 
take-off and landing was achieved by Briton Derek 
Piggott on 9 November 1961. Seated aboard a fragile 
aircraft called Sumpac, he lifted off for a flight of 64 m 
at an altitude of just 1,8 metres. 



10 



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POPULAR 8U5 /** 
MECHANICS/^ 

$> CAR ISSUE 36 Pages 

The Wood Bros: Can They Win Again at Riverside? 

Comparing Those Sporty Small Sedans: 
Datsun, BMW, Cortina, Saab, Fiat 124 

Luxurious New 
Pickups 




Why U.S. 
Cars Look 
Alike 

Dan Gurney's 
Column 
Auto Clinic 




TARLIJ 

ie Story Qejun 
■^-M he -Dark 6 



„ HOW TO: Build Game Storage Under a Pool Table 
r a Snowmobile Install Trim Tabs to Make Your Boat Ride 
Better <• Amplify Your Telephone « Adjust Garage Doors Give Your 
Wife More Storage in the Kitchen ■ Build an Antique' Clock Put a 
Sink in Your Darkroom » Mill on a Drill Press Make a Stand for 
Your Shop Tools Replace Ignition Wiring (Saturday Mechanic) 



| This month's rather busy cover showcased the 
Starlight scope, a "super-secret" gun scope than 
reportedly intensified images up to 50 000 times 
and equipped American soldiers with daylight vision in pitch 
darkness. Since our illustrated article described exactly how it 
worked, we presume the super-secret appellation became null 
and void. 




1948 



A rare excursion into the world of fashion produced this 
little gem about "fashion spies" who capture style secrets 
at shows with the help of tiny cameras hidden in hand- 
bags and even the soles of shoes (the shutter release button was 
secreted in the spy's pocket). The idea, we're told, was to copy the 
designs and make knock-offs. Nothing changes... PM 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 





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Nasa's Earth Observing-1 satellite captured 
this image of a newborn island on 7 January. 
It's a healthy 500 metres across. 



Congratulations, it's an isle! 

The eruption started on 19 December, with local fishermen off the western 
coast of Yemen gaping at 30-metre fountains of surging basaltic magma. A few 
days later, when the lava had cooled, there was a new landmass in the Red Sea. 
Situated in the Zubair Group of islands, the newest addition to the world atlas 
lies at the border of the African and Arabian tectonic plates. As the plates pull 
apart, they cause the formation of new ocean crust. Don't start making new 
maps just yet: American Museum of Natural History volcanologist Jim Webster 
says that the odds are good the island will survive, but there's no guarantee. 
"It's always a competition between land formation and erosion from wind and 
water," he says. - ALEX HUTCHINSON 

Sixty-five per cent of the lava that makes it to the surface 
of the planet erupts not on land, but on the ocean floor. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



■ BIOLOGICAL RECORD-BREAKER 

Tiny frog makes a big splash 

Chris Austin knew he had stumbled upon something big - well, important - 
when he found a new species of frog, Paedophryne amauensis, under a bed 
of moist leaves in Papua New Guinea. Austin, an associate professor of bio- 
logical sciences at Louisiana State University, followed a chirping noise to its 
source, where he discovered the world's smallest vertebrate. The frog meas- 
ures less than a centimetre, so its existence contradicts a theory that such 
diminutive creatures need to be immersed in water to keep their bodies 
from desiccating. 




■ ANCIENT MYSTERIES 




Rise of the fishermen 

AN ANCIENT DISCOVERY FORCES A RE-EXAMINATION 
OF MANKIND'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SEA. 
BY STEVE ROUSSEAU 





Archaeologists in East Timor have unearthed the world's 
oldest fishhook, a discovery that may change scientists' 
understanding of ancient man's technological prowess. 
Australian National University archaeologist Sue 
O'Connor found the hook, made of shell and used at 
least 16 000 years ago. That predates the previous 
known existence of angling by 10 500 years. O'Connor's 
search also yielded bones of deep-sea prey such as 
tuna, rays and sharks caught up to 42 000 years ago - 
the oldest known evidence of deep-sea fishing on the 
planet. The finds appear to dispel a previously held 
theory that Pleistocene-era humans were merely 
opportunists who scavenged shallow-water game. 
"Fishing has always been one of those things thought 
of as requiring complex skills," O'Connor says. 



GORGE 

Evidence of gorges - 
sharpened pieces of bone 
or stone tied to a line - 
dates back 1 2 000 years, 
but their use in fishing is 
certainly older. 

BARBED HOOK 

Hooks adapted to snag a 

fish's mouth emerged 

roughly 6 000 years ago. 

This design has remained 

the same into the 

modern age. 



J 



POPULARWECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



> Visit www.popularmechanics.co.zato see the never- before-conducted experiments to investigate the seismic behaviour of a curved bridge with vehicles in place. 







Civil engineers at the University of 
Nevada injected a new level of realism 
into seismic testing, linking four shake tables to 
erect a 44-metre-long, 147-ton steel and concrete 
bridge in their lab. The coup de grace: loading 
the tables with full-sized vehicles to explore the 
controversial question of how heavy traffic affects 
bridge stability. Researchers ramped up the trem- 
ors to more than twice the strength of a 1994 US 
quake measuring 6,7. The initial results suggest 
traffic can be a blessing and a curse. The trucks' 
weight helped the bridge withstand smaller 
quakes, but made it more vulnerable in larger 
ones. - ALEX HUTCHINSON 





■ PLANETARY MATH 

Our 

uneven 

axis 

Earth rotates every 24 
hours around an imagi- 
nary line that runs 
through the North 
and South poles. Gravita- 
tional pull caused by the 
Sun and Moon and the 
planet's orbit, causes the 
axis to shift - but no one 
had ever measured it 
directly. To calculate 
this! - 



planetary wobble, 



researchers in Germany 
shone two lasers in oppo- 
site directions around a 
4 metre-wide square loop 
buried 6 metres under- 
ground. The planet's rota- 
tion means that the laser 
has to travel slightly 
farther in one direction 
than the other; the 
resultant change in the 
beams' frequencies 
reveals the wobble. The 
results: Earth's axis drifts 
every 435 days by as 
much as 6 metres. 



nWIHWflliBII Emergency-room doctors need to know when they're about to be swamped by a flood of 
flu patients. According to a new study from Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities, they should 
turn to Google's Flu Trends tool, which tracks the frequency of 45 flu-related search queries to offer daily esti- 
mates of how bad the flu is in a given place at a given time. Previous studies have shown that Flu Trends data 
match up well with that collected by official disease control organisations. The problem with the official data 
is that it takes weeks to reach doctors on the front lines. The study is the first to demonstrate that Google 
data actually predict, with minimal lag time, when emergency-room traffic is about to rise. 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



5 

2 



1 



I > Visit www.popuiarmechanics.co.za to watch a time-lapse video of Boeing employees producing the first AH-64D Apache Block III - and of the helicopter's first flight. 



The UAV tracks the target for 
the helicopter, which loiters 
out of visual range. 



i 





The UAV beams 
ballistic information 
- temperature, wind 
and the target's 
range and speed - 
to the Apache's fire- 
control computer. 



The pilot verifies the target using 
live video feeds from the UAV. 



■ 21 ST CENTURY WARFARE 

Apache eyes 

ATTACK-HELO PILOTS GAIN DIRECT CONTROL 
OF UAVS. BY JOE PAPPALARDO 
Human-robot teamwork has reached a deadly new 
level. Upgrades to the AH-64D Apache Longbow 
helicopter have enabled its airborne pilots to con- 
trol unmanned aerial vehicles and use the UAVs' 
video and targeting data to launch a missile attack. 
Combat deployment could come in 2013. 





w*m 




^^^h 




i 


Other upgrades 

NEW GEAR IS 
ALLOWING APACHES 
TO FLY, FIGHT AND 
LAND MORE SAFELY. 



The attack- 
helicopter pilot, 
still safely out 
of sight, shoots 
the target. 



ENGINE 

General Electric's 
701 Ds offer a 5 per 
cent power boost and 
more durability while 
running hot. 





ROTORS 

Composite rotor blades 
help increase the 
Apache's speed, climb 
rate and pay load. 



TRANSMISSION 
The 2 540-kW drive 
system, with a split- 
torque face-gear trans- 
mission, provides more 
power than current 
Apaches. 



LANDING GEAR 
Enhanced hydraulic 
struts adjust to the 
weight load of the air- 
craft and help control 
deceleration during a 
touchdown. 



BRAIN SCIENCE 



Seeing addiction 



Neuroscientists are peering into the brain to understand the 
biological impact of addiction. Using functional magnetic 
resonance imaging (fMRI) of the cerebral blood flow, UCLA 
researchers have been able to pinpoint when smokers experi- 
ence nicotine cravings. Subjects watch videos while being 
scanned with fMRI; by measuring which areas of the brain 
become active, the team can tell with 90 per cent accuracy if 
the subjects are watching a video that shows people smoking. 
Researchers are also studying more modern addictions. 



Investigators in China compared the brains of 17 teens diag- 
nosed with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) with those of a 
group of unaddicted peers. In the IAD group, they found 
significant abnormalities in the white matter connecting brain 
regions involving emotions, attention and decision-making - 
strikingly similar to the brain profiles of drug addicts. Such 
scans could ultimately help refine techniques to fight cravings, 
as well as identify IAD and monitor the progress of treatments. 
- ALEX HUTCHINSON 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



15 



I TECH WATCH 




PM SCORECARD 



Oil spill anniversary 

TWO YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, BP'S DEEPWATER HORIZON DRILLING RIG 
EXPLODED, KILLING 11 AND DUMPING 5 MILLION BARRELS OF CRUDE INTO 
THE GULF OF MEXICO. OFFICIALS VOWED IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN, BUT 
HAVE THINGS CHANGED? - ALYSON SHEPPARD 



RHETORIC 



TIGHTEN GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT 

In May 2010, the US Minerals Manage- 
ment Service (MMS) was charged with 
egregious ethics violations, such as 
accepting gifts from the oil industry. 
The country's secretary of the interior 
pledged to root out "bad apples". 



ASSESS THE DAMAGE 

During the crisis, White House adviser 
David Axelrod said, "Obviously we're 
dealing with the greatest environmen- 
tal catastrophe of all time." Some 
pundits predicted the Gulf would 
become a wasteland. 



REFORM OFFSHORE RULES 

The National Oil Spill Commission's 
report released in January 201 1 called 
for "fundamental reform" to DOI regu- 
lations governing deepwater oil and 
gas exploration, production and spill 
response. 



I 



REALITY 



To reduce conflicts of interest, the 
MMS was split into three separate 
organisations to oversee planning, 
inspecting and revenue collecting. The 
Department of the Interior (DOI) set up 
an internal investigation and review 
unit to police its agencies. 



Although the offshore spill was the 
largest in US history, it was not as cat- 
astrophic as predicted. Favourable cur- 
rents and topography prevented the oil 
from spreading and allowed bacteria to 
break it down quickly. A government 
study projects a reduction in bluefin 
populations of less than 4 per cent. 



Marilyn Heiman of the Pew Environ- 
ment Group says the DOI has 
improved safety and containment 
requirements for drillers but has not 
altered its spill-response and -prepared- 
ness rules. Most new government 
requirements expire in three years. 









• BREAKTHROUGH 

GOOD VIBES 

Using a new ultra-fast camera, 
researchers have recorded the 
first real-time image of two 
atoms vibrating in a mole- 
cule. Key to the experiment, 
revealed in a recent issue of 
Nature, is the researchers' 
use of the energy of a mole- 
cule s own electron as a kind 
of "flashbulb" to illuminate 
the molecular motion. The 
team used ultra-fast laser 
pulses to knock one electron 
out of its natural orbit in a 
molecule. The electron then 
fell back toward the molecule 
scattered off of it, analogous 
to the way a flash of light 
scatters around an object, 
or a water ripple scatters in 
a pond. 

Principal investigator Louis 
DiMauro of Ohio State 
University said the feat 
marked a first step towards 
not only observing chemical 
reactions, but also controlling 
them on an atomic scale. "The 
next step will be to see if we 
can steer the electron in just 
the right way to actually con- 
trol a chemical reaction." 



^^^ > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za for more information on the BP oil spill, including how the blowout 
^P* happened, the aftermath, an interview with Captain Roger Laferriere, who was responsible for surface 
operations, and more (search keyword: Deepwater Horizon). 






a cosmic unknown 



Dark matter makes up about a quarter of the matter in the universe and scientists 
still don't know exactly what it is - but at least now they know where it is. An international team spent five years 
observing 10 million galaxies using a 340-megapixel camera mounted on a telescope in Hawaii. By studying how 
the light from these galaxies was deflected along its route to Earth by the gravitational force exerted by clumps of 
invisible dark matter, the researchers were able to piece together a map of dark matter's distribution spanning 
more than a billion light-years. It is the first glimpse of dark matter on such a large scale. 



16 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



J 1 




Drive responsibly on and off- road 



TECHWATCH 



> Visit www.popularmechanics.co.zato catch PDBot in action. 



KID ROBOTICS 



Engineering + Science = Invention 

~~\ There is the kind of problem kids solve in maths class. 
— ]/ And then there is the kind of problem they solve after 
maths class. For the nearly 300 000 students involved in FIRST pro- 
grammes, founded by master inventor Dean Kamen, the latter isn't 
homework - it's a way of life. Each year the students spend count- 
less hours building a path to robotic glory that culminates in a 
world championship in April. But given enough hardware, mentor- 
ing and ambitious challenges, it was only a matter of time before 
these engineers in training began patenting inventions of their 
own. - JENNIFER BOGO 



\s 



►**..•«. 



» PDBot The US high school students on 
the Pink Team made bots only for the 
FIRST Robotics Competition - until their 
local police department asked if they 
had one to spare. In response, the stu- 
dents built a robot to spec. It can climb 
rugged terrain, deliver a negotiation 
phone, launch smoke grenades and con- 
duct surveillance. "We were searching 
other police robots and were shocked 
by how much they cost for what they 
could do," says Jason Schuler, a contract 
engineer for Nasa, a team mentor and a 
FIRST alum. So the team filed a provi- 
sional patent for its PDBot and opti- 
mised the design for a kit that other 
teams can use to fundraise. "Instead of 
washing cars to raise money, they'll be 
building robots," Schuler says. 




4 



SMARTwheel The Inventioneers from New 
Hampshire had already filed three provi- 
sional patent applications by the time they 
created the SMARTwheel in response to a 
FIRST Lego League Challenge. "We found 
out car crashes were the No 1 cause of 
death for teens and texting was the main 
distraction," says 11 -year-old Bryeton Evarts. 
"We wanted to do something to stop that." 
Their solution is a steering wheel cover that 
detects when a driver removes a hand for 
more than 3 seconds and emits visual and 
audio alerts. A data logger communicates 
unsafe driving behaviour in real time. 
Writing the utility patent application was 
16-year-old Tristan Evarts's favourite part: 
"You can conceptualise your idea, but until 
you have to list all its features on paper, you 
don't fully understand what it is." 



Folding Forklift Last year, the Purple Gears had to build a robot 
that could lift batons from the top of a 56-cm dispenser for the FIRST 
Tech Challenge. The problem: their robot couldn't be more than 450 mm 
high. "We couldn't use hydraulics - that was another restriction," says 
senior Ariana Keeling. So the high school students decided to construct 
a forklift that unfolds, then learned one had never been invented. On 
the utility patent applica- 
tion, they listed each team 
member's contributions to 
the design. That taught 
them something else valu- 
able, says mentor John 
Toebes, director of patents 
at Cisco: "Invention is not a 
solo act." This year, the 
Purple Gears are filing for a 
second utility patent for a 
brand-new kind of wheel. 
PM 





To find out more about the FIRST Lego League, visit www.fllsa.org 




18 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



I— 



[] 




ADVERTISEMENT 



Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition 2012 



Taking up the 
design challenge 

The growing consensus of the need for greener, more resource 
efficient ways of living makes this an era of exploration. 



Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness 
are among the main considerations of 
forward-thinking consumers. They've 
become top of mind when building, 
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us, the people with the know-how, to create 
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On the lighting front, we've got a head 
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There is still a lot of terrain to be charted as 
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Take it further 

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The goal of the competition is to show that 
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Since 1999, the biennial competition has 
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motivating lighting designers, architects and 
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Participating and being honoured in the 
Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design 
programme is an accolade that entrants can 
leverage as a launch pad into energy efficient 
design and development in South Africa's 
increasingly eco-conscious residential sector. 





Lesedi Molosiwa's 
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Entrants can win their 
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20 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




STUART WITT guns the motor 
of the white SUV known as 
Mojave One and drives it up a 
dun-coloured mound of earth. 
From atop his wind-swept 
perch, the CEO of the Mojave 
Air and Space Port surveys a 
fleet of graders and other 
heavy equipment churning 
up 7,7 ha of dirt beneath a 
blue desert sky. 

At the moment, it's just a 
sprawling construction site, 
but within two years, work 
will be completed on a pair 
of hulking buildings. One will 
be a fabrication facility for 
the world's biggest aircraft. 
The other will be the hangar 
that houses it. "You're looking 
at something that's going to 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



21 




Air-to-space dream team 



be fundamentally breathtaking/' Witt says. 

The official name of the mammoth 
aircraft is Model 351, but it already has a 
nickname: the Roc, after the mythological 
bird big enough to carry away elephants 
for dinner. 

The record-breaking plane, which will 
have six engines and twin fuselages, is 
being built to carry a rocket to 9 000 
metres. From there, the rocket will drop 
from the plane and blast into space. The 
first payloads will consist of satellites and 
other cargo, but the programme's backers 
say the rocket will eventually carry passen- 
gers. The Roc will be a flying launchpad - 
government and private-sector customers 
welcome. 

Incredibly, the project has been in devel- 
opment for more than eight years under 
total secrecy. Then, this past December, 
billionaire Paul Allen announced his Strato- 
launch project to the world at a press 
conference in Seattle. 

When the space shuttle fleet was retired 
in 201 1, the United States lost its only way 
to get astronauts off the planet. Strato- 
launch is the latest private-sector initia- 
tive to try to fill that void. "For the first 
time since John Glenn, America cannot 
fly its own astronauts into space," Allen 
said in Seattle. "Stratolaunch will build 
an air-launch system to give us orbital 
access to space with greater safety, flexi- 
bility and cost effectiveness, both for 
cargo and manned missions." 

In the process, the Stratolaunch team 
hopes to build a new American space- 
flight industry. But there are more than 
government contracts at stake: when the 
cost of launches decreases, more industry 
satellites, tourists and science projects 
will reach orbit. Space will truly be open 
to the public. 

To reach that lofty goal, Allen has 
assembled a team of mavericks from the 
private space industry to make Model 351 
into flight-ready hardware. Scaled Compo- 
sites, a Mojave-based firm founded by 
designer (and Popular Mechanics Break- 
through Award winner) Burt Rutan, will 
make the aircraft. Says Rutan, who sits 
on the Stratolaunch board of directors: 
"To allow public access to orbit, we need to 
increase safety by a factor of one hundred. 
I think airborne launch will be a significant 
part of the safety solution." 

The rocket will also be made to order. 



There are plenty of ambitious private space companies, but the reputations of the 
three partners behind Stratolaunch Systems raise expectations sky-high. Each has 
made a career by defying the status quo. 




THE AIRCRAFT: 

Burt Rutan, founder, Scaled Composites 

This forceful, iconoclastic and brilliant 
engineer is best known for designing 
SpaceShipOne, the first privately built 
craft to carry people into space. Rutan, 
now retired, sits on Stratolaunch's board 
of directors; Scaled is building the aircraft. 




THE ROCKET: 

Eton Musk, co-founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, 

and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) 

Musk's rocketeers are trying to make SpaceX 
the first private company to resupply the 
International Space Station - and create a 
launcher that costs one-quarter the price 
of comparable rockets. 




^^^^■i 




'WHY BUILD A NEW AIRPLANE TO FERRY ROCKETS? 


"SPECIALISED AIRCRAFT FOR SPACE 


LAUNCH ARE OPTIMISED FOR THEIR PAYLOADS,' 




BURT RUTAN SAYS. 'JOINING TWO 747S WOULD 




NOT GET YOU AN AIRPLANE CAPABLE OF 


LAUNCHING THE STRATOLAUNCH BOOSTER.' 



For that, Allen approached PayPal co-creator Elon Musk, who founded Space Exploration 
Technologies (SpaceX). Building a two-stage rocket that will be dropped from an air- 
craft is the kind of bold challenge that SpaceX was created to tackle, but hitting the 
specifications for mass, centre of gravity and other technical details will be tricky. "We're 
in what I call the rocket-design box," says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president, "where 
we can be only so long and weigh only so much but still need to get a specific amount 
of payload to orbit. Piece of cake." 

FLIGHT OF THE ROC 

In 2015, hangar doors wider than the length of a football field will slide open. The 
544-ton Stratolaunch mother ship will lumber directly on to Mojave's Runway 30, which 
extends 3 800 m through the desert scrub toward the windmills churning the air in the 
foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains. The Roc's gleaming white, 117 m wings will cast 
long, slender shadows as the plane moves into the bright California sun. 

When air traffic controllers clear the Roc for take-off, its crew will throttle up six Pratt 
& Whitney 4056 turbofan jet engines, each of which generates about 293 000 newtons 
of thrust. The high-pitched turbine whine of a four-engine 747 reaches 140 decibels 
during take-off. That's 20 decibels above the pain threshold - and the Stratolaunch 
vehicle will have two additional engines. 

The shriek of the Roc on take-off will echo a long distance - which is one good reason 
to base its development in the empty desert at Mojave. Accelerating down the runway 



22 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



THE MONEY: 

Paul Allen, co-founder, Microsoft 

This billionaire was the sole funder of 
Rutan's SpaceShipOne project. Stratolaunch, 
which will be the first wholly privately 
funded space transport system, is his 
second space venture. "It will keep America 
at the forefront of space exploration," he says. 




will put some flexion into the 
wings, probably giving them a bit 
of a flapping quality as the plane 
takes off. 

Mojave will host test flights. 
Paid space launches, scheduled 
to begin in 2020, will depart from 

Cape Canaveral, Florida. There, the aircraft will carry a 36 m rocket mounted to the 
bottom of the spar connecting the fuselages. The sight will be dramatic - an aircraft 
with a wingspan greater than the length of a football field, carrying a rocket with 
wisps of vapour escaping from its cryogenic liquid oxygen tanks. 

Allen envisions the system one day delivering as many as six people per flight into 
space. The passengers will buckle into seats inside a capsule at the rocket's tip. 
Assuming the capsule has windows, these paying customers will be treated to views 
of the receding Florida coastline and, after a steady climb, the curvature of Earth. 

And then it gets exciting. Once at 9 000 m, the Roc's crew will start a brief count- 
down and flip the sequence of switches that releases the rocket. The pilots will then 
veer away sharply to stay clear of the rocket's flight path. 

During the drop, fins will pitch the rocket at a steep angle for its impending climb to 
space. The capsule passengers' orientation will shift: imagine tipping over your chair, 
and that brief but gut-wrenching free-fall. And then imagine being slammed back 



into your seat by g-forces as the rocket's 
engines ignite, exerting over 2,2 million 
newtons of thrust. 

Once in space, 90 000 m above the 
release point, the rocket will drop the first 
stage, and the second will fire, flinging 
the capsule (or 6 100 kg of payload) the 
rest of the way into orbit. By then, the 
passengers will be floating in their har- 
nesses. 

BLAST-OFFS FROM ALTITUDE 

Launching spacecraft from aircraft is an 
idea that is as old as spaceflight. In the 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



23 



FEATUPE 



early 1960s, pilots - including future Apollo 
11 astronaut Neil Armstrong - began 
shooting for the edge of space in X-15 
rocket planes dropped from B-52 bombers. 
In the late 1990s, the Pentagon began 
investing in air-launch ventures to develop 
the capability of deploying a spy satellite 
over an unexpected hotspot or replacing 
a disabled sat. 

Private space companies have launched 
small rockets from converted civilian air- 
liners and the cargo bays of military trans- 
port aircraft (see "Why air launch?" else- 
where in this article). But the concept has 
never before been tried on the scale of 
the Roc. 

Rutan and Allen's earlier space collabora- 
tion now seems like a test run for Strato- 
launch, both in terms of strategy and design. 
In 2004, a mother ship called WhiteKnight 
carried a manned spacecraft, SpaceShip- 
One, to launch altitude. From there, 



SpaceShipOne reached 99 900 m and then 
landed under its own power. When Scaled 
was able to repeat the feat within 14 days, 
the company won the $10 million Ansari 
X Prize. Like the Roc, WhiteKnight carried 
its payload between twin spars, but the 
Stratolaunch aircraft's cockpit is nested at 
the tip of one spar. 

Allen won't confirm Stratolaunch's price 
tag, but he says it "is going to end up 
costing at least an order of magnitude 
more than what I put into SpaceShipOne 
($28 million)". Allen and company believe 
that the hundreds of millions of dollars 
and the design challenges of the project 
will be offset by an "any orbit, any time" 
capability. 

When launching a spacecraft to a target 
in orbit - say, a space hotel - a launch 
provider can either wait until the facility 
is overhead, or launch, enter orbit and 
spend days chasing the destination. But 



the Roc will be able to take off from any 
runway long enough to accommodate it, 
fly 2 400 km, and launch a rocket when 
the orbital facility is overhead. 

The Stratolaunch team isn't speculating 
as to who or what will eventually hire the 
system to fly to space. "Paul has tasked us 
with getting the design moving forward," 
says Stratolaunch president and former 
Nasa chief engineer Gary Wentz. "Right 
now, we're not pursuing customers." 

SCAVENGED HISTORY 

In early February, a pair of United Airlines 
747s from Victorville, California, landed 





The huge plane in the Stratolaunch system is used to hoist a rocket to high altitude, release it, 
then veer away as the rocket launches into space. But the mother ship itself is not a space 
plane. That designation is reserved for aircraft that can reach space under their own power, 
manoeuvre there, return to Earth, and Sand. Private space companies are busy designing these 

reusable craft. Here are three new models. 



LYNX / 9 m long 

This suborbital-only space plane from 
XCOR, based at California's Mojave Air 
and Space Port, is designed to fly micro- 
gravity research pay loads, as well as tour- 
ists, just past the edge of space. Taxi tests 
are scheduled for late 2012; a short first 
flight could come by year's end. 




DREAM CHASER / 9 m long 

This seven-passenger space plane, devel- 
oped by Sierra Nevada Corporation, will 
launch from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V 
rocket, enter orbit, return to the atmosphere, 
and land on a conventional runway. Nasa- 
funded testing means first flights as early 
as mid-year. Sierra Nevada says regular 
flights will start in 2016. 




SKYLON / 82 m long 

This single-stage un piloted craft, made 
by England's Reaction Engines, will blast 
directly into space from a runway without a 
boost from an airplane or rocket, carrying 
cargo or a passenger compartment. Engine 
tests began last year; company engineers 
expect flights within a decade. 




24 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



This Pratt & Whitney 4056 engine, shown here 
on a former United Airlines 747-400 that landed 
at Mojave Air and Space Port in early February, 
is one of six to be used on the Stratolaunch 
mother ship. Engineers will cannibalise the 
jet's landing gears, too. 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



25 



FEATURE i 



^^ VIDEO > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to watch a video revealing more about the Stratolaunch project. 



at Mojave. They won't leave intact. The 
two aircraft will be cut to pieces and their 
parts repurposed for the Stratolaunch pro- 
totype, including the six engines that will 
be mounted on the Roc's wings. Engineers 
will also cannibalise the airliners' landing 
gear. 

The Roc's airframe will be new, built 
of carbon fibre. Aerospace engineers are 
finalising that design in Scaled's engineer- 
ing offices in Hangar 78 at Mojave. Says 
Kevin Mickey, Scaled's executive vice- 
president: "We've grown up with airplanes 
that are of a scale where you call 10 of 
your buddies over and say, 'I'm going to 
put this wing on today'. Building an air- 
plane of this size is more of a shipyard- 
type logistic challenge." So cranes and 
big jigs will be the order of the day. 

The Roc is not regarded as pretty, even 
by its creators. "We're all aircraft guys; we 
love swoopy shapes," Scaled programme 
manager Joseph Ruddy says. "But that's 
not this thing's job. This thing's job is to 
carry this rocket and drop it." 

Engineer and test pilot Doug Shane, 
Rutan's successor as head of Scaled, says 



the team will fabricate as many identical carbon fibre-skin sections as possible. "If you 
look at our products, it's very unusual to have any common geometry to any adjacent 
part of the vehicle," Shane says. With flat sides on the fuselage, Scaled can make panels 
and clone the part for use almost anywhere on the aircraft. 

Given Rutan's penchant for aviation firsts - aircraft based on his designs have set 
multiple round-the-world records - one might suspect he joined the Stratolaunch 
project partly because it gives him a shot at one last career-capping superlative. But 
Rutan strongly disagrees with that view. "It would be nice to not have to build the 
world's largest airplane to do the Stratolaunch mission." 

FOR-HIRE ROCKETEERS 

No one at Mojave is currently building rockets at the Stratolaunch scale, so Allen turned 
to Elon Musk. His SpaceX skunkworks is brazenly rewriting the rules of spaceflight by 
creating and launching rockets quickly and cheaply. 

The company has already flown the Falcon 9 rocket, named for its nine main engines, 
and the Dragon space capsule into orbit. The company is now preparing for cargo flights 
to the International Space Station. Musk says manned flights could commence as early 
as 2014. 

The Stratolaunch rocket will have the same diameter as the Falcon 9 (3,65 m), but 
engineers will trim its length by about 18 metres. "We call it the Falcon 9 Shorty," SpaceX 
president Shotwell says. Engineers will stunt the rocket by taking out some of the barrel 
sections that they weld together to make up a typical Falcon 9. 

Many elements of the design are not yet finalised. Even the number of rocket engines 
has not been settled: Shotwell wants to stick with nine engines; Wentz wants fewer. 
"Nine engines are not required for the performance or control of this rocket," he says. 
"Including them would add cost and mass." 

They have to come to an agreement quickly, as the project is on a tight schedule. 



Why air 
launch? 



Launching spacecraft from aircraft is not a new concept - and it has 
advantages over a ground launch. An air-launched rocket is lighter because 
it needs less fuel to reach orbit and doesn't require shielding to protect it 
from the engines' acoustic energy, which reflects off the ground. 







^- 1963: Nasa pilot Joseph Walker reaches space three | 
times in an X-15 rocket plane dropped from a B-52. He is 1 
the first person to get to space more than once. f 

1 
1990: Orbital Sciences becomes the first private space | 

launch company when it drops a Pegasus rocket from a | 

B-52. The system, using a Lockheed L-1 011, is still in | 

operation. -f 

z 

2004: Scaled Composites' WhiteKnight takes off from | 
California's Mojave Air and Space Port and launches | 
SpaceShipOne from its position beneath the plane's 
central fuselage. A larger version, WhiteKnightTwo, is 
undergoing flight tests. 




26 


POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Wentz's timetable calls for Roc flight tests to start in 2015; flights with an actual rocket 
won't begin until 2020 in Florida. 

Scaled must lure engineering and design talent to Mojave to staff up Stratolaunch. 
"The biggest challenge is finding the people who have the right mindset to do this 
kind of work, who want to take responsibility for the parts they do (create)," Ruddy 




says. "We have to adjust them to our 
culture. A lot of aerospace is geared to 
production-type mentality. The prototype 
world is a little different." 

Stratolaunch suits Witt's vision of Mojave 
as the centre of this prototype world, where 
cutting-edge aerospace companies have 
the room to innovate. "What brought the 
Wright brothers to Kitty Hawk was free- 
dom from encroachment of the press, 
freedom from industrial espionage, and 
a steady breeze," Witt says. "The fact 
that we were able to keep this under 
wraps for nearly nine years says that we 
still enjoy the elements that took Orville 
and Wilbur to Kitty Hawk." 

No one will mistake the 544 310 kg Roc 
for the 274 kg 1903 Wright Flyer. But if 
this astounding piece of engineering takes 
to the sky, engines screaming and rocket 
blazing, the aerospace pantheon will 
welcome a new aircraft - a very big 
one. PM 

Rutan (left) and Allen - with a model of what 
will be the world's biggest aircraft - announced 
the Stratolaunch project at a press conference 
in Seattle in December 2011. 




2006: AirLaunch, a Seattle-area company working ^ 

under a Pentagon contract, drops a space rocket from the 
back door of a C-17, setting a record for the heaviest sin- 
gle object dropped from the military cargo plane - 29 000 
kilograms. In 2008, when the contract ends, the company 
folds. 

2010: Google Lunar X Prize competitor ARCA, based -^ 
in Romania, announces plans to launch a three-stage 
space rocket from a balloon. In October 2010, ARCA fires 
a prototype rocket from a balloon at 1 3 700 metres. 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



27 





- 








WHY TITANIC STILL MATTERS 






AN ICEBERG DIDN'T SINK TITANIC - HUMAN ERRORS DID. FROM THE 

BP OIL SPILL TO 2012'S COSTA CONCORDIA SHIPWRECK, 

TITANICS LESSONS STILL APPLY. 

> BY JIM MEIGS > ILLUSTRATION BY OWEN FREEMAN 



WHEN THE RMS TITANIC went 
to the bottom of the Atlantic in the early 
hours of 15 April 1912, it carried with it 
the era's uncritical faith in the promise of 
technology. The ship was the jewel of the 
industrial age. That such an extravagantly 
engineered behemoth could fall victim to 
the everyday risks of sailing the North 
Atlantic was more than shocking; it set off 
a period of deep scepticism about the re- 
lationship between man and his machines. 
A series of inquests and reports laid out 
the reasons for the catastrophe and led to 
reforms in marine engineering and mari- 
time law. But one risk factor couldn't be 
eliminated: human fallibility. In an article 
published in Popular Mechanics soon after 
the tragic event we noted that the Titanic 
"simply furnished another example of the 



well-established principle that if, in the 
conduct of any enterprise, an error of 
human judgment or faulty working of 
the human senses involves disaster, sooner 
or later the disaster comes." 

In one respect, little has changed. As the 
recent loss of the Italian cruise ship Costa 
Concordia demonstrates, bad decision- 
making can overcome even robust engi- 
neering. Virtually all man-made disasters 
- including the Three Mile Island nuclear 
accident, the space shuttle Challenger 
explosion, and the BP oil spill - can be 
traced to the same human failings that 
doomed Titanic. After 100 years, we must 
still remember - and, too often, relearn - 
the grim lessons of that night. 

No disaster is a single event. Complex 
systems rarely fail without warning. Instead, 



accidents are the product of decisions 
made over hours, days and sometimes 
years. Those choices are shaped both by 
the culture of the organisation - whether 
it's Nasa or the White Star Line, which 
owned Titanic - and by outside pressures. 
On the morning of 28 January 1986, the 
launch of the Challenger had already been 
postponed six times. Ever image-conscious, 
Nasa brass pushed to launch, despite the 
objections of engineers who worried that 
the rubber seals between segments of the 
vehicle's booster rockets might fail in the 
unusually cold temperatures. One of those 
engineers, Allan J McDonald, recounts in 
his book Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the 
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster that small 
quantities of combustion gases had leaked 
through the seals on previous missions. It 
was a warning sign - but Nasa came to 
accept the leaks as normal. Engineers were 
forced into the impossible position of trying 
to convince officials that their worries were 
valid. "'Is it safe to fly?' is the correct 
question," McDonald tells Popular Mechanics, 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



29 



The Costa Concordia foundered off the Italian 
coast on 13 January 2012. In an echo of the 
Titanic shipwreck, human errors contributed to 
both the accident and the subsequent loss of at 
least 17 lives. 



"not that you have to prove it will fail." 
Like the space shuttle, Titanic was the 
technological pinnacle of its day. But a 
series of decisions - from carrying too 
few lifeboats to using a rudder that may 
have been too small to enable the ship 
to turn quickly - pared its margin of error. 
Those risks were compounded by unsafe 
operation. Accounts differ on whether 
White Star Line managing director J Bruce 
Ismay urged Captain Edward Smith to 
speed across the Atlantic in the hope of 
setting a record. But there's no question 
that the captain sailed the new and barely 
tested vessel through a region of known 
iceberg risk at nearly full speed on a moon- 
less night. (A nearby ship, the SS Californian, 
had stopped for the night.) It was just one 
more bad decision along the Titanic's 
doomed path. 

Success can breed complacency. During 
a career of more than four decades, the 
Titanic's Captain Smith had been involved 
in only a single accident at sea, one that 
ended without loss of life. The New York 
Times noted that Smith's "rise in rank and 
importance was commensurate with the 
safe uneventfulness of his command". 

Major disasters often occur after such 
long, uneventful stretches. Before the 
partial meltdown of the reactor at Three 
Mile Island in 1979, no US nuclear plant 
had experienced a serious accident for 25 
years. Similarly, before the blowout of the 
BP Macondo Prospect well in April 2010, 
the Deepwater Horizon rig had gone seven 
years without a serious mishap while drill- 
ing some of the deepest wells on the planet. 
"When you think you have a robust system, 
you tend to relax," Henry Petroski, a profes- 
sor of civil engineering at Duke University, 
tells Popular Mechanics. Over time BP and 
its contractors began to cut corners: alarms 
that would have warned of a gas leak were 
silenced, safety checks cancelled. The blow- 
out preventer - a last-ditch device intended 
to shut off a runaway well - was only 




partly functional. And workers were con- 
stantly urged to drill faster. That kind of 
culture invites trouble. 

Technology can outpace judgment. The 
construction of Titanic came at the apex 
of a remarkable period of innovation in 
shipbuilding. Well before the launch of 
Titanic, Captain Smith expressed supreme 
confidence in the state of maritime engi- 
neering: "I cannot imagine any condition 
(that) would cause a ship to founder," he 
said in 1907. "Modern shipbuilding has 
gone beyond that." 

With three powerful engines, Titanic 
could maintain high speeds day or night. 

But the crew's ability to spot hazards 
was little changed from the days of sail. 
Two men stood in a crow's-nest scanning 
the horizon - they didn't even have bin- 
oculars. The ship was equipped with the 
latest communications innovation, wireless 
telegraph, and in the hours before the 
collision the ship received five warnings 
about icebergs from other vessels. But at 
the time, the telegraph was seen primarily 
as a luxury service for passengers, and 
the crew had no firm protocol for acting 
on the information. One message was 
handed to Ismay, who slipped it into his 
pocket, apparently unconcerned. 

Similarly, at the time of the Gulf of 
Mexico blowout, BP and its contractors 
were pushing the art of undersea drilling 
into ever-deeper waters, using increasingly 



sophisticated equipment. And yet the 
procedures to monitor and control these 
deep wells had not advanced much 
beyond those used in shallower seas. 

Leaders may fail to plan for the worst. 
Just as Deepwater Horizon crews derived 
a false sense of confidence from their blow- 
out preventer, the White Star Line put 
undue faith in the supposedly watertight 
compartments that composed Titanic's 
lower decks. The compartments were not 
sealed at the top; if the ship's bow dipped 
low enough, seawater would flow from 
one compartment to the next like water 
filling an ice cube tray. The probability of 
that happening? Low. The consequences 
when it did? Catastrophic. 

And so, the sinking of Costa Concordia 
feels sadly familiar. The ship was studded 
with technology - what it lacked was good 
judgment by the people in charge. The 
captain approached too close to a rocky 
shore. Then, after the collision with an 
undersea outcrop, the crew rushed to 
reassure passengers that everything was 
fine. Had the crew quickly mustered every- 
one to the lifeboats instead, there might 
have been no loss of life. "A tool is only 
as good as the person that's using it," says 
John Konrad, a US Coast Guard master 
mariner and author. "All the technology 
in the world can't replace a good captain." 
That remains as true in 2012 as it was a 
century ago. PM 



30 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



DO YOU KNOW THAT 

ONE LITRE OF 
USED OIL CAN 

GONTAWBNArE 

OmrJH 



Used lubricating oil is hazardous. 

It contains harmful compounds. Irresponsible disposal of used oil pollutes 

our rivers, wetlands and the environment. 

Use ROSE approved collectors and recyclers to dispose of your used oil. 

For more information call the ROSE Foundation on 021 448 7492, 

e-mail usedoil@iafrica.com or visit www.rosefoundation.org.za 



A 

ROSE 



RECYCLING OIL SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT 



Funded by: 



pwi> . V/ BOSS out™ QCsstwf E^onMobil uwciihmsbi b' 5--S 

ei ~ — « ohb S3SOL # O S? 



GREAT STUFF 



HERE'S THE NEWEST GEAR YOU'LL WANT TO OWN 



COMPILED BY SEAN WOODS seanw@ramsaymedia.co.za 



CHARGE ON THE GO 



Portable power solutions are a must in this 
day and age of mobile gadgetry. And if 
it's real power on the move you need, 
PowerTraveller's Powermonkey Discovery 
could be the answer. Featuring a state-of- 
the-art 3 500-mAh lithium polymer battery, 
it can fully recharge an iPhone twice, 
standard mobile phones 3 or 4 times, or 
boost iPod and MP3 player runtime by 120 
hours. It's also compatible with e-readers, 
satnavs, handheld game consoles, portable 
GPS systems and more. 

The Discovery comes with a durable 
aluminium case measuring 1 14 x 13 x 46 
mm (that's about two-thirds the size of the 
iPhone 4S) and features a 6-level battery 
capacity display. The kit also contains three 
tough, tangle-free cables: 1 x USB to mini 
USB, 1 x USB to macro USB and 1 x USB to 
Apple connector. Other tips are available 
on request. Price: about R700. Contact dis- 
tributor Wintec Solutions on 011-467 2360 
or visit www.wintecsolutionsxo.za 





TOUCHSCREEN FOR LITTLIES 



If you'd like your budding 
rocket scientist to get a 
head start on all the other 
kids at the creche, then we 
suggest you get them 
Leapfrog's Leap Pad Explorer. 
This nifty device features a 
13 cm touchscreen display 
to provide a similar experi- 
ence to that of Apple's 



ubiquitous iPad. However, 
unlike the iPad, its rugged 
nature makes it ideal for 
younger kids who still have 
to learn about being care- 
ful with technology. It also 
comes with a range of 
games and other software 
apps (all available on game 
cartridges) that let kids 



read interactive books, 
create art, participate in 
memory tests as well as use 
many more educational 
tools. Price: about R1 200. 
Contact Incredible 
Connection on 0860 
01 1 700 or visit www. 
incredible.co.za 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



DIRT RIDER 



Who said having fun in the bush had 
to involve heavy sweat or bone-jarring 
action? Kawasaki's new PR207 Teryx 
4 can convey four adults swiftly, 
comfortably and, above all, safely 
across the roughest terrain available. 

Its square-tubing construction and 
careful design have kept the number 
of gussets to a minimum, producing 
a chassis with high rigidity and low 
weight. The chassis features a wrap- 
around rollover protection structure 
with key high-tensile steel sections 
to add strength and save weight. 
There are also steel engine guards 
to protect the motor from damage 
in the rough stuff. 

An electrically selectable 2WD to 
4WD or 4WD with front differential 
lock system allows effortless chang- 
ing between drive systems. Because 
the transmission is infinitely variable 
and stepless, there's no need for a 
switchable low range setting. 

To move it along, there's a 749 cm 3 
liquid-cooled 90 degree four-stroke 
V-twin engine with maximum torque 
of 58 N.m at 5 250 r/min. Plus, it 
features ground clearance of 275 
mm, a cargo bed capacity of 113 kg 
and a towing capacity of 590 kg. 
Price: about R170 000. 

Contact Kawasaki on 011-566 0333 
or visit www.kawasaki.co.za 





.*>*, 



Editor's 
choice 



r r?fi^ 



PLUG AND DRIVE 



Filling in an accurate log 
book for the taxman is not 
for the faint-hearted. If 
you're one of those who 
struggle with this annual 
challenge, you're sure to 
appreciate the GPS Log 
Book. Doing just what its 
name implies, this clever little 
gadget plugs into your vehi- 
cle's cigarette lighter or 12 V 
auxiliary socket and records 
every trip using a high-sensi- 
tivity GPS and intelligent 
logging software. Zones or 
geo-fences are created by 
marking points on a map, 
and any trips to and from 
these locations are automati- 
cally categorised and stored. 
Data is then periodically 
uploaded to a Web site via 
your PC. Trips can be viewed 
using Google Maps, catego- 
rised and annotated with 
comments, resulting in 
a quick, detailed SARS- 
compliant tax logbook. Price: 
about R850. Contact GPS Log 
Book on 011-467 5630 or 
visit www.gpsfogbook.co.za 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



33 



GREAT STUFF 




BANG! WAKE UP 



Battling to get out of bed now 
that the mornings are getting 
darker? What you need is the Gun 
Alarm Clock. Here's why: first off, 
it doesn't have a snooze button. 
Instead, you have to hit the alarm's 
bullseye with the infrared gun, or 
rip the batteries out, to shut the 
damn thing up. For those really 



competitive wake-up calls, it fea- 
tures three game modes: in Quick 
Shot mode, you have to pull off 
five perfect shots within three 
minutes. Time mode is a battle for 
speed each morning to see how 
quickly you can wake up, react 
and blast the target away. Finally, 
Random mode changes the timing, 



making for an unpredictable 
stand-off with waking life. Other 
features include a shooting dis- 
tance of about three metres, a 
6 cm LCD display and a red LED 
backlight for use at night. Price: 
about R300. Contact Mantality 
on 011-462 5482 or visit www. 
mantality.co.za 



KNOW WHERE YOU'RE AT 



Getting lost in a foreign country isn't a 
joke. However, with TomTom's latest nav- 
igation device, the Go Live 1005, that'll 
never happen. That's because it comes 
preloaded with 66 of TomTom's most 
popular world maps, including North 
America, Australia, New Zealand, South 
East Asia, Europe and Southern Africa. 

On the safety side, it recommends 
when you should take driving breaks, 
provides unpaved road warnings, 
reminds you on which side of the road 
to drive when abroad and much more. 
Its advanced lane guidance feature 
clearly shows which lane to take at junc- 
tions. And, on the most difficult high- 
way intersections, it provides realistic 3D 
representations of the junctions to make 
sure you find your way. 




Changed your mind about the route? 
Its new alternative route viewer allows 
you to view different routes to your 
destination. 

Other features include a 13 cm 16:9 



ratio capacitive widescreen, hands-free 

phone calls via Bluetooth and spoken 
street names. Price: about R3 800. Visit 
www. torn torn, com 



34 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



TYPE AWAY 



Typing on touchscreens doesn't work for 
everyone, especially when it comes to those 
fiddly, minute "keyboards" on smartphone 
screens. Celluon's Magic Cube laser keyboard 
makes life much easier. Capable of projecting 
a QWERTY keyboard layout on an opaque 
surface, it connects easily to any device com- 
patible with Bluetooth or USB 2. That includes 
the latest iPhone, iPad, Windows, Android 
and Blackberry devices. 

It works by recognising keystrokes via an 
invisible infrared layer combined with an opti- 
cal sensor. Touching a key on the projected 
keyboard interrupts the infrared layer. This 
produces UV reflections that are recognised 
by the sensor in three dimensions, allowing 
the system to assign an exact position. It can 
detect up to 400 characters per minute, and 
its 700 mAh rechargeable battery lasts for 
approximately 150 minutes. Price: about 
R1 700. Contact distributor Syntech SA on 
0861 274 244 or visit www.syntechsa.co.za 




BRAAI IN STYLE 



Designed to function as a 
complete outdoor-kitchen- 
in-one, the Big Green Egg 
(yes, that's its real name) is 
claimed to be even more 
versatile than even 
your indoor oven. 
Modelled on the clay 
cooking vessels used by 
the Chinese 3 000 years 
ago, this ceramic braai is 
designed to withstand 
enormous temperatures 
and insulate far better than 
other open top or kettle 
braais. 

Thanks to a number of 
really cool features - namely 
its airtight ceramic cooking 
shell, infinitely adjustable 
airflow and precision ther- 
mometer - you can grill, smoke, roast, slow cook or 
bake. It's perfect for anything from pizza to ribs, Sunday 
roasts to desserts. 

As air is drawn through the base and out through the 
lid, the charcoal lights quickly and is ready for cooking in 
about 10 minutes. Plus, its thick ceramic walls hold heat 
so well that about 80 per cent of the charcoal remains 
intact after cooking and can be reused. It's also rust- 
proof, easy to clean and the grill is designed to fit inside 
most dishwashers. The Big Green Egg comes in mini, 
small and large sizes; prices run from about R4 000 to 
R8 000. Contact distributors Rockwood Leisure on 
031-502 4043 or visit http://biggreenegg.co.za 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




COOL TOOL MOVER 



Getting your well-stocked toolbox from your vehicle to 
exactly where you need it on site can be heavy going. 
Fortunately, Snap-on's All Weather Mobile Tool Chest 
provides a great way for you to lug all your tools around 
without having to put your back out. 

Providing a convenient, secure, versatile and watertight 
storage solution for tools, it's designed to be pulled along 
easily by hand. Features include solid rubber wheels and a 
55 cm wheelbase for improved stability during transportation. 
The fully extendable sliding drawers can accommodate 
foam cutouts for tool control and 
accountability and the chest can be 
opened without having to flip the box 
on its side. The telescopic trolley 
handle extends to two positions for 
added comfort. A four-bar latch 
system prevents accidental 
opening, yet the latches can / 

be opened by one hand 
When the case is open, 
its lid doubles as a seat. 
Price: about R8 000. 
Contact Snap-on 
on 0861 762 766 
or visit www. 
snapon.co.za 




GREAT STUFF 



BE PREPARED 



You don't want to be caught unprepared while mucking about in the wild. 
Fortunately, if you have the Bear Grylls Survival Tool Pack attached to your 
belt or backpack strap, that's unlikely to happen. This all-weather work- 
horse features a rubberised, locking carry case that houses a 12-component 
Gerber multi-tool, flashlight and fire starter rod. Every tool in the kit is 
outfitted with durable rubber handles for easy gripping, even with 
gloved hands. And all of the multi-tool's components - needle nose 
pliers, wire cutters, wood saw, scissors and serrated blade, to mention 
a few - automatically lock into position. Price: about R1 200. Contact 
Cape Union Mart on 0860 034 000 or visit www.capeunionmart.co.za 



A WATCH FOR THE WATCHERS 





There can be nothing more 
worrying than having an 
infirm relative suffering 
from autism, dementia or 
Alzheimer's, who's prone to 
wandering. LokSu's Freedom 
locator watch - a wandering 
prevention and emergency 
alert device - was designed 
exclusively to address the 
adults' at-risk market. 

As far as the wearer is con- 
cerned, it's just a digital watch. 



However, its strap has a lock- 
ing feature that can be 
removed only by using the 
special release tool provided. 
It uses both RF and GSM 
technology to communicate 
position data. While the 
watch is within RF range of 
the portable receiver, kept by 
the caregiver, its range is dis- 
played on the receiver. If user 
and caregiver are separated 
(you can set the size of prox- 



imity zones), it alerts the 
receiver and switches over to 
the GSM network - sending 
its GPS location to the care- 
giver via SMS and e-mail. The 
available secure customer por- 
tal also allows you to track 
your loved ones on Google 
maps via the Internet. Price: 
about R4 000 (plus a monthly 
service fee). Contact Lok8u SA 
on 021-913 8773 or visit 
www.lok8u-sa.co.za PM 



TECH FOC 

SUPPLEMENT 

Showcasing the planet's 
most desirable consumer 

technology, unpacking 
the latest breakthrou 
and explaining the inner 
workings of the products 

that are rapidly trans- 
forming our working lives 
and leisure hours. 




Popula 
Mec" 



THE 




ocus 



I 



HOME 



AUTO 



OUTDOOR 



AUDIOVISUAL 



UFESTVLE \ 



IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF Popular Mechanics ON SALE 21 MAY 2012 



HP recommends Windows' 7 Professional. 



Intel) A»M>" 



Xeon 



all-in- 



ffi l 



e, an inside 




Introducing the new HP Z1 Workstation. 
Power without the tower. 

Bring your imagination to life with the all-in-one HP Zl Workstation - featuring the 
powerful Inter 11 Xeon- processor E3-1200 series, genuine Windows' 7 Professional 
and a stunning 68.6 cm (27") high-resolution LED-backlit display. 1 

Get professional-grade graphics and performance in a sleek, space-saving design 
that makes customisation a snap - literally. 







The HP Zl Workstation snaps open for simple, tool-free customisation 2 



Experience the HP Zl Workstation at hp.co.za/workstations 



Everybody On w/J/j 



Refers to diagonal measurement of display. 

•All specifications represent the typical specifications provided by HP's component manufacturers; actual performance may vary either higher or lower, 

©2012 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, LP, The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel inside, the Intel Inside logo, 

Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft ond Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. 



CONSUMER TECH 



Editor's 
picks , 



rfW* 



BEST OF CES 



meets DESIRE 



More than 3 OOO companies gathered in Las 
Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show 
(see our report-back in the March issue). Over 
20 000 products appeared, but only a few 
stood out. Here are three new machines you 
need to know about for 201 2. 



LENOVO YOGA 

With both a tradi- 
tional desktop mode 
and an all-new 
touchscreen inter- 
face, Windows 8 
represents Microsoft's 
first complete re- 
think of the desktop 
operating system 
since 1995. The 
Lenovo Yoga can 
open up as a 13-inch 
folding laptop. But 
the screen can move 
backward a full 360 
degrees until it rests 
against the bottom 
of the computer. 
Then it operates as a 
flat tablet computer 
with a capacitive 
touchscreen. 




NOKIA LUMIA 900 

The LTE-capable Lumia, with its 11 cm screen, is the 
halo device for Nokia and Windows Phone in the US. 
It shares a sleek design with the 3G Lumia 800 but has 
a bigger, 1 840 milliamp-hour battery. It also sports a 
killer camera with a wide-angle 28 mm f/2.2 lens. 




MAKERBOT 
REPLICATOR 

Larger than the original 
MakerBot, MakerBot 
Replicator allows the 
amateur inventor to 
create objects roughly 
the size of a loaf of 
bread out of common 
manufacturing materials 
such as ABA or PLA 
plastic. Also, unlike the 
company's original 3D 
printer, the Thing-O- 
Matic, the Replicator 
has the ability to rapidly 
print dual-coloured 
plastic prototypes, 



38 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 










HE WEB > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za for more cool tech 
jmer Electronics Show and elsewhere (search keyword: CES201 






TECH I 



CONSUMER TECH 



CONSUMER TECH 



CONSUMER TECH DILEMMA 



The Tech-O-Meter 



We've addressed this issue many 
times, and still we hear stories of 
PM readers who acquire absolutely 
essential electronic gadgets and 
then have to explain to their part- 
ners why their lives would be empty 
without them (the gadgets, that is; 
not the partners). New gadgets 
hit the market at such a fast 
pace that they can become £A" 
a blur. Here, we take a candid 
look at 1 items worth 
focusing on, for better 
or worse. 

> BY JOHN HERRMAN 




1 VIZIO THIN + LIGHT LAPTOP 

In a sea of MacBook Air clones, these 
well designed laptops stand out with 
clean lines, a matte finish and a dis- 
tinctive style. But the guts are just 
Ultrabook basics. 



ULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



2 ROKU STICK 

This USB-size device plugs into the 
back of newer TV sets and instantly 
turns them into smart TVs with no 
external power source required. 

3 DISH NETWORK HOPPER 

A DVR that can record every major 
network's prime-time lineup every 
night for eight days. The 2 000 hours 
of content requires 2 TB and dubious 
taste. (Bundled with satellite packag- 
es in the US. Do we really want this 
in South Africa?) 

© GOPRO WI-FI BACPAC 

GoPro makes action cams for snow- 
board helmets or BMX handlebars. 
This clip adds wrist and smartphone 
controls. 

© OLPC X03 

A cheap tablet for the developing 
world from the people who made 
the first cheap laptop for the devel- 
oping world. 

© GRIFFIN TWENTY 

The elegantly designed Griffin Twenty 
device turns any Apple AirPort Express 
into a powered stereo system. 

© POWERSKIN SPAREONE 

This simple, low-tech phone runs off 
an AA battery. Perfect for your storm 
shelter, first-aid kit or underground 
seed bunker. 

© SHARP FREESTYLE 

A small TV with wireless connectivity 
and batteries. Watch the game while 
you're tending the braai. 

© GALAXY NOTE 

At 13,4 cm, this Android device is a 
bit too small to be a tablet and far 
too big to be a phone. Consolation 
prize: a free stylus. 

(£) VICTORINOX USB DRIVE 

It's a USB drive you can't take on a 
plane or into a school or maybe even 
to work. In a more appropriate set- 
ting - say, a forest - you might have 
trouble finding uses for that astound- 
ing 1 terabyte of storage. PM 

39 



JAY LENDS GARAGE 



.** 



n 



The control mechanism on Jay's 
1916 Owen Magnetic hybrid was so 
complicated that a placard warned 
operators to take the vehicle to the 
factory for repairs. 



The premier 
pioneering 

hybrid 



Jay's Owen Magnetic was ahead of its 
time, which ultimately proved its undoing. 




> BY JAY LENO 

> PICTURES BY JOHN LAMM 



People think hybrids are something 
new, but they've been around since 
the beginning of the car. Ferdinand 
Porsche built the Lohner-Porsche series 
hybrid car back in 1901. It used a petrol 
engine to spin a generator that fed elec- 
tricity to in-wheel motors. In 1917, the 
Woods Motor Vehicle Company of 
Chicago offered the Woods Dual Power, 
a series hybrid that could motor along - 
at speeds of less than 25 km/h - solely 
on battery power. 
But I think the 1916 Owen Magnetic 



40 



might be the most interesting early 
hybrid of them all. The Owen Magnetic's 
technological leap was its electromagnetic 
transmission. Invented by the wonderfully 
named Justus B Entz, an electrical engi- 
neer from New York who once worked 
with Thomas Edison, the electromagnetic 
transmission compactly housed both a 
24-volt generator and an electric traction 
motor. The crankshaft of a 56 kW petrol 
engine was attached to the generator, 
which sent juice to the traction motor, 
which in turn powered the rear wheels. 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



There was no mechanical connection 
between the engine and the drivetrain. 

One could argue that in 1916, hybrids 
made even more sense than they do 
today because early manual transmissions 
were such a bear to operate. Most cars of 
the era had straight-cut gears and heavy 
clutches. If you were a man or a woman 
with a bad leg, or you simply weren't 
able to drive, shift and double-clutch at 
the same time, the Owen Magnetic was 
the perfect vehicle, since it has no clutch 
or gear shifter. 

To go faster, you press on the gas 
pedal and then move a steering-wheel- 



Right: The lever that changes 
the car's speed is located on 
its own ring in the centre of 
the steering wheel. 
Below: The Owen Magnetic 
should be awarded a prize 
for best logo ever. 



move the lever, and the resistance pro- 
vided by the motor slows the car and 
charges the batteries - the same kind 
of regenerative mode that's found in 
today's hybrids. 

A lot of my old cars, which weigh 
between 1 300 and 1 800 kg, have only 
rear brakes. Consequently, those brakes 
produce a lot of heat. When you go 
down a long hill, you can smell 'em start- 
ing to burn up, and they quickly fade. 
And if an early car's brakes get wet, oh 
boy, you're in for a panic. But with the 
Owen Magnetic, you rarely have to get 
on the brakes unless you need to stop 





■THE ADS CALLED IT 'THE CAR 
OF A THOUSAND SPEEDS'. BUT 
AS IS SOMETIMES THE CASE, 
BEING BETTER ISN'T ALWAYS 
ENOUGH.' 



mounted lever along six speed detents 
(catches that lock the movement). As you 
accelerate, the engine speed increases, 
and that in turn speeds up the generator, 
enhancing power. Each successive lever 
position increases the intensity of the 
motor's magnetic field and torque. 
Compared with operating most early cars, 
driving the Owen Magnetic is a breeze. 

The car's other advantage was its elec- 
tric brake. There's a cockpit lever that 
turns the traction motor - the one that 
drives the rear wheels - into a generator. 
So when it's time to slow down, you 



completely, like at a stop sign. If you're 
going 55 to 65 km/h, you engage 
"regen" and you coast, or freewheel. As 
soon as you hit 40 km/h, you feel the 
transmission go eeehhhhrrr! And the car 
slows right down to 5 km/h. Plus, you can 
watch gauges that show the batteries 
charging. 

My Owen Magnetic was originally sold 
straight from the floor of the 1916 New 
York Automobile Show and shipped to 
the buyer's home in Norway. He must 
have forgotten that there weren't many 
roads in Norway in 1916. That's probably 



why my car has less than 14 500 km on it. 
I'm not sure when the car made it back 
to America, but it was probably in the 
1970s. I found it right here in Los Angeles. 
Whatever you're looking for, you can 
find it within 80 km of LA. During World 
War I, and even more so during World 
War II, plenty of defence contractors 
were on the West Coast - Lockheed, 
Boeing, Douglas, and many more. Engineers 
and other technically minded people 
were drawn here. With the great climate, 
cars didn't rust and people didn't throw 
anything away. A lot of the interesting 
cars and stuff just stayed in the area. 
So why did the Owen 
Magnetic company fail in 
1922, after producing just 700 
cars? The ads called it the car 
of a thousand speeds. But as is 
sometimes the case, being 
better isn't always enough. 
The car had to be competitively 
priced. A 1917 Ford Model T 
cost $360; Cadillacs ran 
about two grand. An Owen 
Magnetic started at $3 700 
and went up from there. 
Another problem was the 
complicated relay-and-wiring 
shift mechanism. It's mounted 
under the bonnet, alongside 
the steering column. 

I haven't opened mine up 
because it seems to work fine. 
And, quite frankly, I'm fright- 
ened to poke around in there. 
A plate on it says, "If something goes 
wrong, do not attempt to work on this 
yourself. Send it back to the factory." 
Who would want a car that a blacksmith 
couldn't fix? 

In that era, most people didn't care 
that much about new technology. It's like 
the full hybrids today. They're still a hard 
sell because they cost more than other 
cars in their class. You can get better 
mileage, but that initial cost penalty 
keeps many people from buying them. 
With cars, simpler and cheaper parts 
are often better. When the Mustang 
was developed. Ford considered a more 
expensive independent rear suspension 
than the solid axle the car came with. As 
legend has it, Ford executive Lee lacocca 
said, "Americans don't give a crap about 
that. Make it inexpensive; make it look 
sexy. Don't put something in it they 
can't see." 

Companies that don't make it in the 
car business usually fail because they try 
to sell a product that's too good, or they 
over-engineer it and put in more than 
people want or need. Sadly, that's what 
happened with the Owen Magnetic. PM 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



41 



FEATURE I 



1 \1 1 1 1 L dipri Edge invites 

explanation? Here 




Sexual conflict 
theory 

DAVID M BUSS 

Professor of psychology. 
University of Texas, 
Austin; co-author of Why 
Women Have Sex; author. 
The Dangerous Passion 



A FASCINATING PARALLEL has occurred 
in the history of the traditionally sepa- 
rate disciplines of evolutionary biology 
and psychology. Biologists historically 
viewed reproduction as an inherently 




co-operative venture. A male and female 
would couple for the shared goal of 
reproduction of mutual offspring. 

In psychology romantic harmony was 
presumed to be the normal state. Major 
conflicts within romantic couples were 
and still are typically seen as signs of 
dysfunction. A radical reformulation 
embodied by sexual conflict theory 
changes these views. Sexual conflict 
occurs whenever the reproductive inter- 
ests of an individual male and individual 
female diverge, or more precisely, when 
the "interests" of genes inhabiting indi- 
vidual male and female interactants 
diverge. Sexual conflict theory defines 
the many circumstances in which discord 
is predictable and entirely expected. 

Consider deception on the mating 
market. If a man is pursuing a short-term 
mating strategy and the woman for 
whom he has sexual interest is pursuing 
a long-term mating strategy, conflict 
between these interactants is virtually 
inevitable. Men are known to feign long- 
term commitment, interest or emotional 
involvement for the goal of casual sex, 
interfering with women's long-term mating 
strategy. Men's have evolved sophisticated 
strategies of sexual exploitation. 

Conversely, women sometimes present 
themselves as costless sexual opportunities, 



and then intercalate themselves into a 
man's mating mind to such a profound 
degree that he wakes up one morning 
and suddenly realises that he can't live 
without her - one version of the "bait 
and switch" tactic in women's evolved 
arsenal. 

Once coupled in a long-term romantic 
union, a man and a woman often still 
diverge in their evolutionary interests. 
A sexual infidelity by the woman might 
benefit her by securing superior genes 
for her progeny, an event that comes 
with catastrophic costs to her hapless 
partner, who unknowingly devotes 
resources to a rival's child. From a wom- 
an's perspective, a man's infidelity risks 
the diversion of precious resources to 
rival women and their children. It poses 
the danger of losing the man's commit- 
ment entirely. 

Sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity 
and resource infidelity are such common 
sources of sexual conflict that theorists 
have coined distinct phrases for each. 
But all is not lost. As evolutionist Helena 
Cronin has eloquently noted, sexual 
conflict arises in the context of sexual 
co-operation. The evolutionary conditions 
for sexual co-operation are well-specified: 
when relationships are entirely monoga- 
mous; when there is zero probability of 
infidelity or defection; when the couple 
produces offspring together, the shared 



42 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




vehicles of their genetic cargo; and when 
joint resources cannot be differentially 
channelled, such as to one set of in-laws 
versus another. 

These conditions are sometimes met, 
leading to great love and harmony 
between a man and a woman. The prev- 
alence of deception, sexual coercion, 
stalking, intimate partner violence, mur- 
der, and the many forms of infidelity 
reveal that conflict between the sexes is 
ubiquitous. Sexual conflict theory, a logi- 
cal consequence of modern evolutionary 
genetics, provides the most beautiful 
theoretical explanation for these darker 
sides of human sexual interaction. 



Boltzmann's 
explanation 
of the second 
law of 
thermodynamics 

LEONARD SUSSKIND 

Felix Bloch Professor in 
Theoretical Physics, 
Stanford; author, The 
Cosmic Landscape 



THE GUIDING STAR FOR ME, as a physicist, 
has always been Boltzmann's explanation 
of the second law of thermodynamics - 
the law that says entropy never decreases. 
To the physicists of the late 19th century, 
this was a very serious paradox. Nature is 




Wat created the Universe in such a special low- 
entropy my! lhat's a cosmological Question that 
we are still very uncertain about.' . 



full of irreversible phenomena; things 
that easily happen but could not possibly 
happen in reverse order. 

However, the fundamental laws of 
physics are completely reversible: any 
solution of Newton's equations can be 
run backwards, and it is still a solution. 
So if entropy can increase, the laws of 
physics say it must be able to decrease. 
But experience says otherwise. For exam- 
ple, if you watch a movie of a nuclear 
explosion in reverse, you know very well 
that it's fake. As a rule, things go one 
way and not the other. Entropy increases. 

What Boltzmann realised is that the 
second law - entropy never decreases - is 
not a law in the same sense as Newton's 
law of gravity, or Faraday's law of induc- 
tion. It's a probabilistic law that has the 
same status as the following obvious 
claim; if you flip a coin a million times, 
you will not get a million heads. It simply 
won't happen. But is it possible? Yes, it is; 
it violates no law of physics. Is it likely? 
Not at all. 

Boltzmann's formulation of the second 
law was very similar. Instead of saying 
entropy does not decrease, he said entro- 
py probably doesn't decrease. But if you 
wait around long enough in a closed 
environment, you will eventually see 
entropy decrease: by accident, particles 
and dust will come together and form a 
perfectly assembled bomb. How long? 
According to Boltzmann's principles, the 
answer is the exponential of the entropy 
created when the bomb explodes. That is 
a very long time, a lot longer than the 
time to flip a million heads in a row. 

I'll give you a simple example to see 
how it is possible for things to be more 
probable one way than the other, despite 
both being possible. Imagine a high hill 
that comes to a narrow point - a needle 
point - at the top. Now imagine a bowl- 
ing ball balanced at the top of the hill. A 
tiny breeze comes along. The ball rolls 
off the hill and you catch it at the bot- 
tom. Next, run it in reverse: the ball 
leaves your hand, rolls up the hill, and 
with infinite finesse, comes to the top - 
and stops! 

Is it possible? It is. Is it likely? It is not. 
You would have to have almost perfect 
precision to get the ball to the top, let 
alone to have it stop dead-balanced. The 
same is true with the bomb. If you could 
reverse every atom and particle with suf- 



ficient accuracy, you could make the 
explosion products reassemble them- 
selves. But a tiny inaccuracy in the 
motion of just one single particle, and all 
you would get is more junk. 

Here's another example: drop a bit of 
black ink into a tub of water. The ink 
spreads out and eventually makes the 
water grey. Will a tub of grey water ever 
clear up and produce a small drop of 
ink? Not impossible, but very unlikely. 

Boltzmann was the first to understand 
the statistical foundation for the second 
law, but he was also the first to under- 
stand the inadequacy of his own formu- 
lation. Suppose that you came upon a 
tub that had been filled a zillion years 
ago, and had not been disturbed since. 
You notice the odd fact that it contains a 
somewhat localised cloud of ink. The first 
thing you might ask is what will happen 
next. The answer is that the ink will 
almost certainly spread out more. But by 
the same token, if you ask what most 
likely took place a moment before, the 
answer would be the same: it was proba- 
bly more spread out a moment ago than 
it is now. The most likely explanations 
would be that the ink-blob is just a 
momentary fluctuation. 

Actually, I don't think you would come 
to that conclusion at all. A much more 
reasonable explanation is that for rea- 
sons unknown, the tub started not-so- 
long-ago with a concentrated drop of 
ink, which then spread. Understanding 
why ink and water go one way becomes 
a problem of "initial conditions". What 
set up the concentration of ink in the 
first place? 

The water and ink is an analogy for 
the question of why entropy increases. It 
increases because it is most likely that it 
will increase. But the equations say that 
it is also most likely that it increases 
toward the past. 

To understand why we have this sense 
of direction, one must ask the same ques- 
tion that Boltzmann did: why was the 
entropy very small at the beginning? 
What created the Universe in such a spe- 
cial low-entropy way? That's a cosmologi- 
cal question that we are still very 
uncertain about. 

I began telling you what my favourite 
explanation is, and I ended up telling you 
what my favourite unsolved problem is. I 
apologise for not following the instruc- 
tions. But that's the way of all good 
explanations. The better they are, the 
more questions they raise. 

• For the remaining 190 responses, we 
suggest you visit edge.org - and be pre- 
pared to spend a while there. pm 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



43 



It's not what you see, 
it's what you look for. 




Do you see the bears surrounding the oblivious bulls? Not everyone does. 

It's amazing what you see when you know what to look for. What seems like a bull market could be a bear market waiting to happen, We believe in taking 
a good look at our clients, and then offering them the right advice, based on a deeper understanding of the industry. It's because we know what to look for, 
that we can help you to grow and protect your wealth. Contact Nicola Solomon on nsolomon@fnbphvateclients.co.za 



WEALTH AND ASSET MANAGEMENT | STOCKBROKING | FIDUCIARY SERVICES | SPECIALISED LENDING | BANKING 




Private Clients 




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First National Bank 

» how can we help you? < 




VEHICLE HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 



> COMPILED BY ANTHONY DOMAN > anthoiiy@ramsaymedia.co.2a 



LAMBORGHINI AVEMTADOR J 

LET'S NOT MEET HALFWAY 

Lamborghini says the one-off Aventador J 
(that's J for Jota, harking back to that 1970s 
super-Miura) is its most uncompromising 
super sports car. Yet it is fully street legal. 

For a start, the Aventador is what the 
Italians call a barchetta, which means 'little 
boat'. In essence, it is an open roadster. 
This is a car for the purist: no roof, no air- 
con, no sat-nav and no windscreen -just 
tiny wind deflectors. Tiny, but big enough 
to ensure that you cut through the air 
at 300 km/h without so much as ruffling 
your coiffure. 

Based on the Aventador LP 700-4, the J 
uses innovative tech such as forged com- 
posite carbon fibre, pioneered on the Sesto 
Elemento. The material is used in construc- 
tion of the seats, which are covered in 
more carbon fibre: a patented CF-based 
textile called CarbonSkin. And, like the LP 
700-4, it has a 515 kW 12-cyltnder engine - 
powering significantly less weight. 

The Aventador J 
is the first vehicle to use patented 
Carbonskin. It is made of woven carbon 
fibres soaked with a special epoxy resin 
that stabilises the fibre structure and keeps 
the material soft. Effectively, it moulds to 
a shape. Although Carbonskin is used to 
clad the cockpit and parts of the seats, 
Lamborghini has suggested that it could 
even be used for high-end clothing. 





ZA^ MAY 2012 




2012 HONDA INSIGHT 

CLEANER THAN EVER 

Honda says it's created the cleanest and most economical Insight 
so far, with engine tweaks largely responsible for cutting fuel con- 
sumption to 4,3 litres/100 km (combined) and C0 2 emissions to 
103 g/km. Aero efficiency improvements include a new grille design 
and a slimmed-down rear. A beneficial side effect of trimming the 
roof spoiler for less drag has been to improve rear visibility. 

Ride refinement also came in for some attention, with lighter, 
stiffer aluminium front lower suspension arms replacing the steel 
originals, and a new choice of tyre. Power is supplied by a 65 kW 
1,3-litre i-VTEC engine with IMA (Integrated Motor Assist). IMAs 
compact electric motor slots in between engine and transmission 
and boosts total system output to 73 kW and 167 N.m. 

Price: R272 500, including 5-year/90 000 km service plan. 





AUDI CONNECT 



WI-FI ON THE DRIVE 



Up to eight users can be connected simultaneously to the world-first wireless hotspot 
in Audi Connect. Leaving aside for the moment the matter of wedging eight people 
into a family car, the new Audi system's ability to navigate using Google Earth imagery 
and Google Street View adds impressive depth to the conventional sat-nav setup. 

Audi Connect will be launched in South Africa with the introduction of the new A4 
range and will be offered on several other models. Connection to the Net will be via the 
car's UMTS car phone module; the in-car Wi-Fi network will stream data to occupants. 
Having Google Earth imagery integrated into the navigation system's map display will, 
says Audi, make orientation significantly easier. Another benefit: being connected to 
Google means instant access to a huge number of up-to-date points of interest. 




NISSAN DELTAWING 



Unconventional looks are just 
part of the story with this 
Nissan-backed experimental Le 
Mans racer. A 1,6-litre DIG-T 
engine forms part of the set- 
up that is effectively a test 
bed for new road car techno- 
logies. Importantly, it is expect- 
ed to halve the fuel 
consumption of the conven- 
tional opposition. 



RACING TESTBED 



The Nissan DeltaWing 
weighs only half as much as a 
conventional racer - and has 
only half the drag. 

Engine output of about 
225 kW is expected to be 
enough to power the 
DeltaWing to Le Mans lap 
times between the LMP1 and 
LMP2 categories. 

The car's layout is highly 



unusual. According to Nissan, 
the driver sits well back in the 
car, almost over the rear axle. 
At the other end of a long, 
narrow fuselage are narrow 
twin front tyres, specially 
created for the car by tyre 
partner Michelin. The engine 
is rear-mounted. 

As the car doesn't fit into 
any existing categories, it will 




run as an experimental vehicle 
bearing race number and will 
not be classified as a finisher. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



47 



HEW ON THE BLOCK 



THE CALL OF THE ROAD 



ELECTRIC OPTIONS 

As long as you've got the budget, there's never been a wider 
range of options for getting mobile. From the utterly conventional 
closed box with four wheels to the rather unconventional wind-in- 
your face choices shown here, you can own the road. Even if your 
usual wheels of choice are attached to a chair. What's more, these 
designs are both powered by electricity. 



MELEX ELECTROVEHICLES 
Nissan's Leaf and the Tesla 
sports car have shown that elec- 
tric cars don't have to look like 
a milk float or a golf cart. On 
the other hand, there is merit in 
a vehicle that's stripped of all 
unnecessary frills and styled 
much like... a golf cart. 

But there's one big differ- 
ence: these are street legal. 

The new models from Melex 
are just the thing for leisure, 
estates, agriculture, hospitality, 
industry, impaired mobility, uni- 
versity campuses and security. 
Even, says Stuart Elliot of Melex, 
for eco-friendly commuting. 

Their new street legal models, 
available in two- or four-seater 
configuration, have been 
through SABS homologation 



*■% 





and will be registered as L3 light 
passenger vehicles. Top speed 
from the 48 V/5 kW motor is a 
bracing 50 km/h and range is a 
very useful 100 km if fitted with 
the optional solar panel. 

In addition to these units, 
Melex is also homologating a 
14-seat bus that's been snapped 
up by a casino. Find out more at 
electrovehicles. co.za 



SCOOTI FREEDOM CRUISER 
Those confined to a wheelchair usually depend on a 
helper or on specially adapted vehicles to get around. 
The Scooti Freedom Cruiser provides an alternative that, 
besides being convenient, suggests that travel could be 
fun, too. A ramp allows easy access to the Freedom 
Cruiser's "load box". Once in position, the driver simply 
powers off. You need never leave your chair, in fact. 

According to the local distributors, the Cruiser will be 
ENATIS approved and street legal (though it won't be 
allowed on expressways). 

The Cruiser is able to load up to 1 50 kg. The tricycle 
layout uses 16-inch alloy wheels with nylon/rubber com- 
pound tyres, drum brakes and a parking brake. The 
48 V motor sends 800 W to the rear wheels (forward or 
reverse is selectable) and is able to propel the Cruiser 
to a top speed of 35 km/h. Range is between 55 and 
65 km, with a charge time of 6-8 hours at 220 V. It 
should be quite nippy, too: turning circle is 3,8 metres. 

Price: R43 995, including free delivery in SA. To find 
out more, see scooti.co.za 



LEXUS RX 



Sportier performance profiling 
and a more macho look are key 
elements of the new Lexus RX 
launched at Geneva and due in 
South Africa mid-2012. 

In addition to an aggressive 
restyle that adopts Lexus' family 
cues, the RX450h hybrid gets Sport 
mode, and there's an F Sport speci- 
fication with running gear opti- 
mised for performance as well as 
individualised trim. Sport mode is 
specifically tuned for more electric 
motor power, at the same time 
sharpening throttle and steering 
responses and toning down stability 
and traction control to hand more 
control to the driver. 
Touch to activate. Lexus' sec- 
ond-generation Remote Touch 
Interface multifunction control 
device now features the world's 
first slide-type joystick control 



mechanism. It functions like a 
computer mouse: to select enter, 
just push the controller. Also, the 
multimedia system's full colour 
LED display now has multiscreen 
capability to allow three simulta- 
neous independent displays, such 
as map, vehicle information, 
audio, navigation input, air-condi- 
tioner functions and incoming call 





48 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



TOYOTA FT BH 



PUSHING THE ENVELOPE 



Using feasible, commonly avail- 
able technologies, just how far, 
practically speaking, can we 
develop today's hybrids? Toyota 
asked the question and 
answered it with the FT-Bh 
concept shown at Geneva. 

At just 800 kg, with a 0,235 
drag coefficient (typical minicar 
equivalent: 0,29) and a high- 
efficiency two-cylinder 1,0-litre 
powertrain, it averages 2,1 litres/ 
100 km and 49 g/km of C0 2 
emissions. Yet this is a vehicle of 
real-world proportions, with ade- 
quate room for occupants. 

The Toyota engineers concen- 
trated their energies on weight, 
drag, powertrain efficiency, 
electricity saving and heat 
management. 

High-tensile steel, aluminium 
and magnesium helped cut the 
weight to 786 kg. The spinoff, 
says Toyota, is less load on the 



overall structure, so other com- 
ponents - including the engine 
- could be made smaller. Not 
immediately obvious, but crucial, 
are aero improvements. These 
include air curtain intakes in the 
nose, streamlined wheels, an 
air outlet slit in the rear and an 
underfloor spoiler. Some uncon- 
ventional solutions to conven- 
tional methods were used: 
cameras instead of airflow- 
muddling mirrors, and latches 
instead of doorhandles. The car 
uses 45/55R18 low rolling resist- 
ance tyres. 

Electrical components were 
specially chosen for their effi- 
ciency - LED headlights, for 
example - and thermally optimal 
materials include special glass 
and paint. To further save energy, 
the air conditioning is directed 
only to where people are sitting. 



2012 HYUNDAI SANTA FE 

STORM BREWING 

Set for a world launch at the New York show, 
the third generation of this crossover may be 
based on Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" style 
but is inspired by its own theme, which the 
company calls Storm Edge. Its main design 
elements are refinement, smartness and prac- 
ticality. Whatever, the Sante Fe takes the SUV 
image firmly into the urban space and is said 
to hint at the design direction for Hyundai's 
next-generation SUVs. It's expected to reach 
here early next year. 



'« 



i£= 






& ~4f 












FT-Bh 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



49 



NEW ON THE BLOCK 




RENAULT CLIO 



WIRED 



For 2012, the Clio is all about getting connected. 
To tune in to today's trendy urban lifestyle, 
Renault has revved up the model range and 
included features such as a standard Parrot 
Bluetooth system on the new entry-level 1.6 
Yahoo! (we kid you not). Higher up, the top-end 
1.6 Avantage model gets integrated Bluetooth 
and TomTom LIVE integrated satnav. The Yahoo! 
also gets an MP3-compatible radio/CD player 
with AUX in. In case the more mature among 
you are feeling a little technologically challenged 
by all of this geekspeak, on a more practical 
rands-and-cents note, the Clio's service plan has 
been stretched to four years and 60 000 km. 
And, of course, the standard engine is the 83 kW 
1,6 with 5-speed manual (a 4-speed auto is 
optional on the Avantage). 
Prices: from R159 900. 



SUBARU EYESIGHT 

SEEING IS BELIEVING 

Subaru has broadened its EyeSight driver assist 
system to the North American market. 
According to Subaru, EyeSight is the first device 
in the world to solely use stereo camera tech- 
nology to detect objects in front of the car. 
These objects include pedestrians, cyclists and 
other vehicles. Incorporated in the system are 
Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive 
Cruise Control with all-speed range tracking 
and Lane Sway Warning. Sales of EyeSight mod- 
els have accounted for 9 in every 10 Legacy and 
Outback sales in Japan, where it was launched. 

Meanwhile, the jointly developed Subaru 
BRZ/Toyota 86 (below) has started trundling off 
a production line once used for Subaru's minicar 
range. The same facility is also expected to start 
producing the Subaru Impreza by next year. 




TYRE TECH 



Those black rubber doughnuts connecting your car (or bike, for that 
matter) to the road are sometimes a lot more influential than we give 
them credit for. Of course, they're a vital part of ensuring we have a 
safe, comfortable ride. But they are also important in ensuring a quiet 
ride - for us as well as those around us. And their effect on fuel 
economy is unquestioned. 

At the Geneva Motor Show this year, Goodyear showed some tech 
concepts that could soon be coming to a road - or a planet - near you. 




As the whine of electric motors 
supersedes the clatter of diesel 
engines in noisy inner cities, engi- 
neers from Goodyear's Innovation 
Centre in Luxembourg are looking 
at ways to drop the noise floor even 
lower through tyre technology. 

The EU's CityHush project is pro- 
posing noise-limited quiet zones 
(Q-Zones) in five cities where only 
electric vehicles will be allowed. It's expected that over- 
all noise levels will drop by about 15 dB, or even more 
around parks. 

How can tyre makers help? Road noise isn't just 
about the road surface. It is also dependent on tyre 
dimensions, materials and construction and tread pat- 
tern. These parameters affect both the volume and the 
frequency spectrum of road noise. And it's these that 
were juggled to produce a quiet concept tyre for EVs 
shown at Geneva (right). 

Goodyear also exhibited Air Maintenance Technology 
(top right), which keeps tyres optimally inflated without 
external pumps, electronics or driver intervention. The 
company says research has shown that underinflated 
tyres worsen fuel economy by between 2,5 and 3,3 percent, 



WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE PLANET 



The Spring Tyre is engineered to withstand the harshest environments 
on the Moon, says Goodyear, and possibly the toughest places on Earth. 
(We can think of a few roads that could test that confidence.) 

Developed in conjunction with Nasa, the Spring Tyre is an advance on 
the wire mesh tyre previously used on planetary rovers, also co-designed 
by Goodyear. The new design has 800 load-bearing springs and is able 
to carry heavy vehicles. 

Its spring design contours to any surface for maximum traction. It's 
highly efficient, because all the energy used to deform the tyre is 
returned when the springs rebound. Because of that, it won't generate 
heat like a pneumatic tyre would, the company says. 

Naturally, because 
no inflation is involved, 
the Spring Tyre simply 
shrugs off pothole 
impacts. At the same 
time, its combination 
of flexibility and 
stiffness provides a 
plush ride. 





50 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



How do you want the world to look? 




RamsayMedia is offering a total of R1 million in free advertising space to promote 
three worthy causes in the 2012 Picture the Change campaign. 

Picture the change you would like to see and you could win great prizes including holidays and camera 
equipment valued at more than R20 000. 

Plus - if you are a winner then the worthy cause you have chosen will receive R300 000 of free advertising 
space from RamsayMedia. 

For further details and to enter go to www.picturethechange.co.za , decide on your worthy cause, find 
(or take) a relevant photograph and complete your entry to picture the change. 

"Most giving is motivated by the desire to make a difference." www.thegivingreport.co.za by BoE Private Clients 



Prizes sponsored by 




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PRIVATE CLIENTS 

BoE Private Clients offers banking services through Ned bank 
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V 

South African 

NATIONAL PARKS 



Canon 



NEW ON THE BLOCK 




3 SERIES h 





EADS UP 

The car that defined the compact sports 
sedan has thoroughly grown up. It now 
even offers decent accommodation in 
the rear. 

In its latest iteration, the 3 comes with 
the usual blend of performance (Twin- 
Power Turbo engines throughout), sporty 
suspension tuning and tech (full-colour 

Head-Up Display, Driving Experience Control with Eco Pro mode). There's 
an option of an 8-speed auto gearbox, too. 

Now into its 6th generation, the 3 Series is bigger all round. That size is 
most felt in the rear - most notably the effect of the 93 mm increase in over- 
all length and 50 mm in wheelbase. Yet, bucking the trend in today's safety- 
conscious (and therefore bulkier and heavier) designs, the new car is a massive 
40 kg lighter than the outdoing version. 
Available engines are diesel and petrol 6-cylinders and new turbo Fours in the 
328 and 320. Under BMW's EfficientDynamics "green" tech umbrella, the 
new 3 gets Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum 
Shift Indicator and ancillary activation on demand - including 
automatically disengaging air-con compressor. 
New for 2012 is Eco Pro driving mode, 
which helps stretch fuel economy. 
Safety and driving aids besides 
the Head-Up display range from 
f a bird's-eye perspective display 
of the vehicle to active cruise 
control with lane departure 
warnings and camera-based 
collision warning. 



BENTLEY EXP 9 F 



I.I.HIH.-feMilMiaBifiEBa 

Bugatti's much-quoted line about 
Bentley building the world's fastest 
trucks hasn't stopped echoing since the 
unveiling of the EXP 9F concept at the 
Geneva Motor Show. 

Translating the Bentley styling DNA 
into a completely new category was 
never going to be easy, so the EXP (for 
experimental) looks unresolved from 
certain angles, commanding from oth- 
ers. That said, with this concept Bentley 
has made no secret of its desire to bring 
an SUV to production. Mechanically, at 
least, the 450 kW/800 N.m 6,0-litre twin 
turbocharged W12 engine guarantees 
the performance you'd expect of a 
Bentley. Alternative powertrains, includ- 
ing a hybrid, could be offered. 

Bentley says its designers drew inspi- 
ration from the "visible engineering" of 
the company's racing heyday: the day- 
time running light apertures double as 
engine air inlets and feature a mesh- 
covered turbine fan design and rifled 
inner surface finish that is echoed in the 



52 



exhaust outlets. This wouldn't be a 
Bentley without the gentleman's-club 
ambience typical of the marque. That's 
no more evident than in the accommo- 
dation appointments: diamond-quilted 
leather, cooled compartment for cham- 
pagne and glasses, and a two-piece tail- 
gate that can be either a viewing bench 
or picnic table for those ultimate 
tailgate parties. At the polo, 
of course. 





POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Competition 




a VIP 
experience 

at the 2012 Vodacom Origins of Golf 



Since its inception in 2004, 

the Vodacom Origins of Golf 
series has grown in stature 



the 2012 edition promises 
to continue that trend. Apart 
from the total prize money 
of R3,6 million on offer for 
the professionals at the six 
tournaments that make up 
the series, the "Origins" is 
a wonderful opportunity for 
sponsors and guests to take 
part in what must be the 
most coveted Pro-am invite 
in SA golf - and to do so on 
six world-class golf courses 
around South Africa - namely, 
Simola, Zebula, De Zalze, 
Selborne, Sishen and the 
venue for the grand final, 



% v* 



series was dedicated to Ernie 
Els and dubbed "Origins goes 
Easy". This time around, it's in 
honour of another multi-Major 
winning, living legend of the 
local game - Retief Goosen. 
Welcome to the "Goose Chase"! 
Tech-heads will be pleased 
to know that TaylorMade 
is once again the official 
equipment sponsor of the 
Origins series and will be 
using it to showcase the very 
latest golf technology - like 
the all-new R1 1S driver. It's 
bigger, faster, and the most 
"tunable" driver ever made, 
meaning that you can custom- 
ise the face angle, adjust the 
loft on the face and maximise 
the centre of gravity of the 
titanium, 460 cm 3 matte- 
white driver head to suit your 
personal swing. TaylorMade 
calls it "3D Tuning" and it's 

) forward 
for one of the game's most 
innovative brands. 



The good news for you 
is that one lucky Popular 
Mechanics reader will win 
a VIP experience at the 
Vodacom Origins of Golf 
"Goose Chase" taking place at 
Selborne from 22 to 24 August 
2012. The prize includes three 
nights' accommodation with 
breakfast and dinner - and a 
full golf package of two rounds 
of golf, including caddie/ 
cart halfway, lunch and the 
legendary Origins goodie 
bag of TaylorMade golf gear. 
And if you happen to play 
well enough to finish top 10 
overall, you will automatically 
get a spot in the Fancourt final 
on 26-28 September 2012. 



Standard terms and conditions apply: no 
one from SAIL or RamsayMedia may enter, 
In addition, winners will be notified 24 hours 
after the closing date and need to inform 
RamsayMedia or SAIL if they are able to 
accept the prize and attend the event. 
Failure to confirm this within a further 48 
hours will result in the prize being withdrawn 
and another winner being drawn. Winners 
require an official SAGA handicap and will be 
required to play off a maximum 18 handicap. 
The prize excludes transport to the event 
location. Winners agree to allow their image 
to be used in RamsayMedia magazines and 
websites. Competition closes 30 July. 



ropular 
Mechanics 



"• BlackBerry 



SUNSHIJ 




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plus enter the Ford Focus competition - simply contact us with this code: 12/05/SP/PM 



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Rules: The Ford Focus competition ends on 31 August 2012. Entrants must be contactable by telephone. The winner must be over 1 8 years and be in possession of a valid driver's licence. The prize is not transferable, nor 
can it be converted into cash. The prize vehicle will be used at Popular Mechanic's discretion for promotional purposes and selected editorial assignments during the campaign period (March to August 201 2). The prize vehicle 




Parrot 



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enter by extending their subscription at a 35% discount. 

The all-new Ford Focus combines dynamic exterior design with a driver-focused interior, featuring a 
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Maximising sustainability was a primary goal for the all-new Focus. 
In addition to minimising C0 2 emissions through high-efficiency 
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Employees of RamsayMedia, Ford, and their immediate families, their advertising agencies and public relations agencies may not enter. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 



TECH 



DIGITAL CLINIC 

> BY JOHN HERRMAN 



Battery death 

Ql'd like to give my old mobile phone to a friend, but when 
I pulled it out of storage, the battery was completely 
dead. It was fine when I put it away. What happened? 



k 



c 



3 





































J 


L^ 


flj 



A Lithium-ion batteries are the problem 
child of modern electronics. They leave 
your laptop juiceless after just a few hours. 
They send you hunting for power outlets at 
the least opportune times. They're the reason 
"sorry, my phone's about to die" has become 
as common a sign-off as "goodbye" in modern 
cellphone conversations. 

Less obvious than low capacity is the problem 
of longevity. Lithium-ion and even newer 
lithium-polymer batteries have a nasty habit 
of losing capacity over time or, worse, dying 
altogether. Any battery issue is by definition 
a chemistry problem. In a healthy battery, 
ions flow freely between a cathode and an 
anode. Charging a battery forces ions from 
the cathode to the anode; using the battery 
reverses the flow. 

Over time, this process wears out the cathode, 
which results in reduced capacity. A high-end 
lithium-polymer battery can lose about 20 per 
cent of its capacity after 1 000 charge cycles. 
Another way to think of this is to imagine that 
every time you recharge your laptop, you 
shave a few seconds off its maximum battery 
life. Erratic charging and heat speed up this 
degradation. 

And batteries degrade even if you don't use 
them. According to battery -testing firm Cadex 
Electronics, a fully charged lithium-ion battery 
will lose about 20 per cent of its capacity after 
a year of typical storage. Increase the tempera- 
ture to above 38 degrees - as on your car's 
windowsill, for example - and that number 
rises to 35 per cent. 

On the other hand, an empty battery pack 
can eventually fall into "deep discharge", at 
which point the battery's protection circuit - 
intended to prevent power from reaching 
defective battery cells - is triggered. This leaves 
the battery unable to charge at all. 

Your best bet for long-term battery storage is 
to run the charge down to 50 per cent, remove 
the battery from the device, and keep it cool. 
But even ideal storage conditions can leave you 
with a dead battery after three or four years. 

TRASH TALK 

QMy computer tells me that I'm running 
low on disc space. I've deleted files, but 
the messages won't stop. 

A By default, "deleting" a file moves it to 
either the Recycle Bin (Windows) or the 
Trash (Mac OS). In other words, the files 
haven't been deleted - they've been sent 



56 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



into limbo, to a special folder where they 
remain fully intact but can't be directly 
accessed. This is a blessing when you 
realise you've accidentally deleted an 
important file. More often, though, it's 
just a waste of space. 

Going forward, to free up hard-drive 
space, right-click on the Recycle Bin or 
Trash icon and click Empty. Windows users 
can bypass the Recycle Bin by selecting a 
file, holding down Shift, and pressing 
the Delete key. 

ABANDON SHIP? 

Ql have a hunch my kids are pirating 
music, and I want them to stop. They 
claim it's no big deal. Should I worry? 

A In 2008, the Recording Industry 
Association of America announced 
that it would be drawing down its law- 
suits against file sharers, instead relying 
on Internet service providers to issue 
warnings. This gave some the impression 
that file sharing has become, if not legal, 
safe. It hasn't. Hosting and sharing copy- 
righted materials for free is still illegal, 
and looser enforcement doesn't change 
the fact that file sharers' identities are 
exposed. 
BitTorrent, a popular file-sharing service, 




TECH TACTICS 



THE FLASH-FREE LIFESTYLE 



With the rise of HTML5 video and native Web apps, Adobe's Flash browser plug-in is on 
its way out, and not a moment too soon. Here's how to switch off - but not permanently 
delete - this buggy, insecure, resource-hungry software. 



FIREFOX 



Download an extension called Flashblock from addons.mozilla.org, 
click on Install, then restart the browser. 



PMROMF ^'' c ^ on P re f erences > Under the Hood, Content Settings, Manage 
Exceptions, and Disable Flash, then restart the browser. 



Click on Tools, Manage Add-ons, and Shockwave Flash, then 
select Remove All Sites. 




exposes users' IP addresses to whoever 
might want to see them, be they copy- 
right holders or law enforcement. Free 
download sites such as MediaFire are 
themselves vulnerable to lawsuits, which 
could result in the subpoena of user 
information - the biggest, Megaupload, 
was shut down by authorities in January. 
Getting slapped with a hefty lawsuit for 



downloading files may be statistically 
unlikely, but it's not impossible. 

It seems the message is getting out. 
We were told by someone who regularly 
sources (presumably pirated) e-books 
from a certain Web site that the site's 
download facility was suddenly removed 
without explanation. Now he's feeling 
slightly nervous. PM 



People in the know, know 





Ask your contractor about Aberdare. 

For more information email: 

info@aberdare.co.za 

www.aberdare.co.za 



Talking about cable is not easy. 



Which is why we let Aberdare speak 
for itself when it comes to industrial 
and commercial cable, It's the cable 
recommended, and used, most 
often by contractors for applications 
ranging from home appliances, new 
building construction, renovations, 
security and infrastructure. 



Aberdare gives you longterm 
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products, with quality, reliability and 



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Driven by Powertech C 



Celebrating innovation 



The Eskom eta Awards 

are putting energy efficiency on the map 



Over 23 years ago, Eskom 
launched the eta Awards. 

Back then, energy efficiency 
was a new concept; an awards 
ceremony that recognised and 
rewarded excellence in energy 
efficiency was an innovative 
approach to encourage and 
inspire energy efficiency. 

Since then the awards have 
grown into South Africa's most 
prestigious energy efficiency 
awards. They now honour 
companies, individuals and 
young people across 10 
categories. 

Today, energy efficiency is 
the buzzword on everyone's 
lips. This has resulted in a huge 
upswing in the number - and the 
quality - of entries, according to 
Eskom 's eta Awards organiser 
Annamarie Murray. 

With entries for the 2012 
awards having opened on 2 April 
2012, Eskom is looking forward 
to enthusiastic participation 
across the various categories. 
Whether you're retrofitting 
your home to cut down your 
electricity bill or if your company 
is doing something great to 
reduce your carbon footprint, 
enter and you could win up to 
R30 000 for your bright idea. 

Murray says: "As more South 
Africans start to make small and 
big changes in their own lives to 
become more energy efficient, 



we are seeing a growing number 
of fantastic entries. We hope 
that this year will be the same." 

Last year saw some truly 
inspiring entries. One that really 
impressed the judges was 
IWeathar's vertical wind turbines. 



developed 
the vertical Tri-Aero Blade Wind 
Turbine, which is specially 
designed to withstand the harsh 
weather conditions experienced 
on South Africa's coastline. He 
was runner-up in the innovation 
category in 201 1 and hopes that 
his product will soon be seen in 
communities across the country. 

Witthuhn says: "It can 
generate enough power to 
meet the energy needs of an 
average household fitted with 
a solar geyser and gas stove, 
but can also be adapted to 






Above: Russell Witthuhn, the Tri- 
Aero Blade Wind Turbine developer. 
Right: The IWeathar Tri-Aero Blade 
Wind Turbine. Left: a sketch of the 
Tri-Aero Blade Wind Turbine 



ADVERTISEMENT 



in energy efficiency: the 23rd annual eta Awards, sponsored by Eskom 




Above: Nicholas Nouwens, 
inventor of a highly 
innovative multi-cavity 
water heater system 
Above left: A diagram 
of Nicholas Nouwens' 
innovative geyser. 



Below: Meinhard Fourie 
shows off his innovative 
energy efficient pool 
pump. 



feed into the power grid to add 
capacity to Eskom's supply. 
Over the course of a month, the 
turbine can produce around 500 
kilowatts of electricity." 

Witthuhn is also excited 
about the potential to use the 
wind turbines in low income 
communities not on the national 
power grid. He explains that 
the turbine can be installed and 
maintained by almost anyone 
with the right training and that 
thereafter can be turned into a 




business supplying power to 
businesses or communities. 

Another entry that really made 
a splash was 

pool pump, which could sig- 
nificantly reduce the energy 
required to run the average 
swimming pool. 

In South Africa there are 
approximately one million 
swimming pools. These each 
require 0,6 W of electricity to 
be kept clean and sparkling. 
This total energy required 
could power 500 000 average 
households. 

Meinhard saw that something 
needed to be done and cons- 
equently spent two years 
developing an energy efficient 
pool pump. The result is a pump 



® 

eta awards 

TURNING IDEAS INTO ENERGY 
Sponsored by Eskom 



that is both cost effective and 
energy efficient, ticking all the 
right boxes for the South African 
consumer. 

Another entry and innovator 
that really stood out in 201 1 
was a highly innovative geyser 
concept. IJIUiklkklJMIlMJJ.kl 
a graduate from the University 
of Pretoria, developed a multi- 
cavity water heater system that 
dramatically increases geyser 
efficiency by subdividing a 
geyser's water tank. 

Nouwens first started working 
on his system in the final year 
of his engineering degree. His 
invention can reduce energy 
consumption by 6,5 per cent 
while delivering between 50 and 
70 per cent more hot water. 

"This is the first locally 
created innovative improve- 
ment on hot water stores for 
domestic water heaters. It has 
the potential for a wide social 
impact because it is versatile, 
affordable, locally developed 
and not geared to any particular 
market at the exclusion of 
others. It is also safe, well 
researched and shown to work. 

"The challenge lies in shifting 
mindset and earning the stamp 
of approval from water heater 
manufacturers," concludes 
Nouwens. 

If you've been tinkering 
around in your workshop and 
have found an energy efficient 
solution to a common residential 
need, or perhaps found a way 
for your company to produce 
more with less energy, let us 
know. You could be receiving 
R30 000 at this year's awards 
ceremony. 



More about the &ta Awards 

The prestigious annual eta Awards, sponsored by Eskom, are aimed 
at recognising excellence by individuals and companies in the field of 
energy efficiency, To find out more about how you or your company 
can enter the eta Awards, visit www.eta-awards.co.za • 




THAT'S ALL IT TAKES 

to enter our competition and 
stand a chance of becoming 
South Africa's Inventor of the 
Year for 2012. In the coming 
weeks and months, we'll be 
calling for entries from all 
corners of the country as we 
prepare for our annual feast 
of inventive excellence in 
four categories: Stepping Up 
(high schools), Breaking 
Ground (university students), 
Emerging Genius (previously 
disadvantaged and minimally 
resourced entrants) and Cutting 
Edge (open to anyone). 

Generous prizes are on 
offer in each category, and 
the overall winner will be 
declared South Africa's 
Inventor of the Year for 
201 2, walking off with a 
floating trophy plus a large 
cash prize in recognition of 
his or her achievement. 

As before, the competition 
forms part of a larger initia- 
tive that encompasses an 
inspiring conference - expect 
something very different this 
year - plus a mini-expo of 
cool technology and the chance 
to mingle with some of the 
smartest people you'll ever 
meet. Oh, and did we mention 
that prize money would be 



generous? We'll be releasing 
full details in the near future. 

Rules? There are a few, but 
we'll do our best to make it as 
easy as possible. For example, 
your invention must be your 
own, original work, and it 
must be fresh (in other words, 
don't submit something that 
was featured in your local 
newspaper 20 years ago). It 
should also serve a genuine 
purpose: whereas you might 
believe a combination nose- 
hair clipper and tea strainer is 
exactly what the world needs, 
you're probably wrong. And 
finally, keep it real: your rough 
sketch of a fusion-powered 
bicycle won't cut it. 

What's your next move? Start 
working on that invention 
right now - and do your 
homework. Research it on the 
Web to make sure your inven- 
tion isn't replicating someone 
else's idea (you'd be surprised), 
gather all the relevant infor- 
mation on your target market, 
and if possible, build a working 
prototype (there's nothing 
quite as reassuring to a judging 
panel as an invention that 
clearly works). Then, when 
we open for entries, you'll 
be ready and waiting. 



STEPPING UP 



BREAKING GROUND 



EMERGING GENIUS 



CUTTING EDGE 




At last year's awards ceremony, bioengineer Dr George Vicatos (third 
from right) won R50 000 in cash - he later shared it with his two 
collaborators - plus the title Inventor of the Year for his development of 
a versatile and potentially life-changing facial reconstruction system. 
From left: PM editor Alan Duggan, Gerard de Vaal (runner-up, Cutting 
Edge), Kenneth Mia {Special Merit Award, Emerging Genius), enter- 
tainer Peter Greenwall, George Vicatos, Lucky Mokalusi (Special Merit 
Award, Emerging Genius) and Jamii Hamlin {winner, Going Green). 



Popular Mechanics be the first to know 



DIY HOME 



> BY ROY BERENDSOHN 



ms 



■ 



WATER FLOWS AROUND BERM 




ft 

■■•■ /• 



DRY WELL 







COLLECTS 
WATER AND 
ALLOWS 
IT TO 
PERCOLATE 
INTO SOIL 



GEOTEXTILE 
FABRIC 



RUN-OFF FIXES 




ROCK 

RIFFLE 

SLOWS 

WATER 

SPEED 




GEOTEXTILE 
FABRIC 



PERFORATED 
PIPE 



FRENCH DRAIN 



QOur house is at the base of a hill, and every 
rainy season we get ferocious run-off that 
damages flowerbeds and undercuts the driveway 
shoulder. The hill is not on our property, so we 
can control the run-off only once it reaches the 
yard. Every year I repair the damage, and every 
year it happens again. What's a permanent fix? 

A Run-off frustrates many homeowners and the 
dirt, wood chips, grass clippings, and debris it 
scours from the yard can pollute public waters. So 
we've got two goals here: divert the water to stop 
the damage to your property, and slow it down 
enough so that it percolates into the soil, rather 
than racing over it. 

All of the following approaches will work well, 
depending on the situation. 

Build a berm, a small hill covered with grass or 
other plants that will divert run-off around what 
you want to protect. You'll need to think about 
where the diverted water will flow and then con- 
sider what to plant. Grass is easy, until it's time to 
mow it. A variety of other plantings might be easier 
to maintain and can help the berm blend into the 
landscape. The best brief guide I've seen is Building 
Soil Berms, available online from the University of 
Minnesota. If you're looking for a reasonably quick 
fix to protect plantings and structures, a berm 
may be the best option. 

Intercept the water by using a swale, a shallow 
ditch with gently sloping sides. You can also use a 
French drain, a gravel-filled trench that may have a 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



61 



perforated pipe at the bottom. New prod- 
ucts include the EZ-Drain, which consists 
of a perforated pipe and plastic beads 
encased in a tube of landscape fabric. The 
fabric surrounds the pipe like a sock and 
prevents dirt from infiltrating and filling 
up the pipe or the air spaces between the 
beads. Because French drains handle water 
that is moving not just over the soil but 
through it, they're the best solution for 
keeping water out of a basement. 

Route the water into a dry well. As the 
name suggests, this is a hole in the ground 
that remains dry most of the time. However, 
when water is flowing, it can be routed to 
the well by a swale or roof downspout. Dry 
wells are particularly helpful in a spot 
where downspouts are flooding a large 
paved area or when you're coping with 
run-off from a large roof. Finally, you can 
dig a dry well in any low area where a 
big puddle tends to form. 

Grade broad surfaces to direct run-off 
away from houses, sheds, outbuildings, 
and patios. In most cases this requires a 
professional excavator or expensive rental 
equipment. But it's almost always an 
essential step for correcting a flooded 
basement or crawlspace. 

Replace impermeable surfaces such 
as concrete with permeable pavers and 
gravel. This can be expensive, but it's worth 
considering, especially if you're already 
replacing deteriorated asphalt or concrete. 

A final word of advice is in order before 
you start swinging a pickaxe or hiring a 
Bobcat loader. Depending on what part of 
the country you're in, it may be subject to 
specific rules about landscape modifications 
that affect groundwater, even on a small 
scale. These regulations are more likely 
to apply if your house is close to a lake, 
stream, or seashore, but it pays to check 
requirements no matter where you live. 

It's also smart to check with utilities in 
your area about your intent to dig. It may 
be useful to know the location of buried 
utilities, such as telecom cables, water 
lines and sewers. 

FAST FLOORING 

QAre peel-and-stick floor tiles any 
good? 

A Sure, peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are a 
great product and very DlY-friendly. 
You can reliably install them on top of 
plywood or, with some precautions, on 
concrete. If you're working with plywood, 
make sure it's rated for use as a subfloor. 
If the subfloor is rough timber or is ply- 
wood that lacks the requisite rating, or if 
you're not sure what kind of plywood it 
is, then install subfloor-rated plywood. 



62 




THE RECYCLER 



MITRES A LA CART 



Randy Dean runs a tight workshop in his 
home in Ignace, a town of 1 700 people - 
many of them loggers - in Ontario, Canada. 
Dean's work space is well outfitted for 
everything from welding to woodworking. He 
has always owned a mitre saw, but something 
about it bugged him. It just sat there. Putting 
the saw on wheels would improve its utility 
- almost anything is better on wheels - and it 
would be easy to do. Dean started with an old 
braai cart and ended up with a rolling mitre 
saw. Now, that's a mobile device. 



12 MM 
PLYWOOD 




8 MM 
BOLTS, 

45 MM 
LONG 




HOW TO 
MAKE IT: 



Strip off the braai 
body, its plumbing, 
and the control panel. 
Rip and crosscut 
12-mm and 15-mm 
plywood panels to 
make a base and 
extension wings to 
flank the saw. 

The top of the saw's 
table should be flush 
with the extension 
wings, so you'll need 
to cut wood blocks to 



position under the 
saw to raise it up. Cut 
the blocks to size, 
place them beneath 
the saw, mark and 
drill the mounting 
holes in the blocks, 
and bolt the saw 
through the table to 
the cart. You may also 
need to cut a rebate 
in the wings to let 
them fit neatly over 
any projections in the 



30 MM 

WOOD 

SCREWS 



saw body. 

Next, attach the 
wings to the cart's 
sheet-metal tubing 
using 40-mm wood 
screws. If your cart is 
equipped with a slatted 
shelf on the front, you 
might opt to keep it. 
Dean screwed a piece 
of plywood over the 
slats to provide an 
additional work surface. 



The tricky thing about concrete is that any and leave it in place for 24 hours. If you 



moisture vapour or groundwater that 
comes through will lift the tiles. As a test, 
use plastic tape to seal an 450 x 450-mm 
piece of clear plastic sheet to the floor 



see condensation on the underside of the 
plastic, you can't install the tiles on the 
floor. If the plastic stays dry, the tiles will 
probably work. No guarantee, though. PM 

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DIGITISE YOUR 
HOME MOVIES 

Don't leave your most important 

video memories stranded in a 

box in the garage. 

BY JOHN HERRMAN 





64 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



© As video content gets old, it 

gains sentimental value. As film and 
video media get old, they fall apart. 
This is the paradox at the centre of our 
movie collections: it's the priceless images 

- the first steps, the trips down the aisle 

- that have greatest risk of loss. 

Reel-to-reel 8 mm tape has a typical 
shelf life of about 20 years, at which 
point the threat of magnetic instability, 
tape deformation and general chemical 
breakdown becomes unavoidable. Like- 
wise, VHS cartridges begin to deteriorate 
after only a decade. Recordable CDs and 
DVDs, despite their apparent durability, 
can fall prey to oxidation after just a few 
years - data is stored on a delicate metal 
film at the top of the disc, not in the 
plastic. 

Hard drives and solid-state storage 
won't last forever, either, but at least 
they give you control. With your movie 
collection stored on a computer, it joins 
a maintainable mass of data, part of your 
ongoing computing experience. Once in 
the digital realm, movies can be copied 
and recopied. They can be uploaded to 
the cloud. Most importantly, they can be 
backed up. 

FROM THE GARAGE TO THE 
HARD DRIVE 

© Before you get started digitising, you'll 
need to assess the scale of your project. 
Digitising tape or film is a real-time process; 
it takes as long to convert it as it does to 
watch it. Digitally archiving more than a 
dozen hour-long videotapes or more than 
a few reels of 8 mm film is a big under- 
taking, so if you're facing boxes and boxes 
full of dusty film, you might need to get 
professional help. 

US services such as DigMyPics and 
Digital Memories will digitise a variety 
of film and videotape formats, including 
8 mm, for a rate of about $20 per trans- 
fer. This can quickly get expensive, but 
you're paying for more than just speed 
and ease - these companies are well- 
equipped to deal with delicate, volatile 
old media. They also have well-main- 
tained playback and recording equip- 
ment designed to tolerate imperfection 
and deal gracefully with failure. 

DigMyPics, for example, scans each reel 
frame by frame, projecting light through 
the film and on to a specially designed 



KNOW YOUR STUFF 



VIDEO PLAYBACK 101 



You don't spend hours converting old videos just to leave them languishing on a 
hard drive. Here are four ways to watch your new digital home-movie collection. 



Plays > H.264, MPEG-4, DivX. Special talents > Compatible 
with the .mkv format, which is common for HD video. 

Plays > H.264, MPEG-4, Motion JPEG. Special talents > 

Streams media from a PC with an app called StreamToMe 
(or, in our case, Air Video). 

Plays > H.264, MPEG-4, Windows Media > Special talents 

> Connects to any Windows PC with Windows Media Centre. 

Plays > H.264, MPEG-4. Special talents > Streams video 
from PCs running a free app called TVersity, even over 3G. 





SMART- 
PHONE 



§ 



image sensor, ensuring consistent transfer 
quality. So if your home videos are both 
old and priceless and you haven't viewed 
them in years, you should err on the side 
of caution; not only are your reels and 
cassettes weakened by age, but your 
vintage playback hardware probably 
isn't at its best, either. 

That's not to say you can't digitise tape 
and film yourself. If you know your home 
movies to be in decent shape and your 
playback hardware is in working order, 
digitising personal video is a uniquely 
gratifying personal project. Think of it 
less as a chore than as a chance to revisit 
your life's greatest stories. 

DIGITISING FILM 

©Low-tech storage media call for a 
low-tech conversion technique. As a con- 
sequence of their design, reel-to-reel 
projectors' only output is the projection 
itself - there are no ports to plug any- 
thing into; just the projected image. The 
process of digitising old film, then, is 
really an act of re-recording. 

Set up your projector in a dark room, 
and make sure your projection surface is 
smooth, white, and less than a metre wide 
- a closer projection will ensure sufficient 
brightness and full-colour reproduction. 
(If you don't have a projector, there's a 
steady supply of afforcable variable- 
speed models on eBay.) Set up a digital 



video camera - an HD flip-style cam or 
even a high-quality srnartphone camera 
will do - and position it on a stable sur- 
face close to the side of the projector. 
Begin recording some sample footage. 

It's likely that you'll notice some flick- 
ering in the image; this can be remedied 
by adjusting the speed of the projector. 
The perspective of the film will be slightly 
skewed, of course, but the effect can be 
minimised by cropping the frame slightly. 
If you are recording directly from a pro- 
jector's speaker rather than via its line 
output, check that your camera's mic isn't 
picking up too much mechanical noise. 

The resulting footage should be clean 
and vivid but not necessarily without 
quirks. Nearly all video cameras, especially 
cheaper ones, meter light automatically 
and continuously, so the image may suffer 
from brief moments of overexposure. If 
you can manually adjust your camera's 
exposure, setting it to a fixed exposure 
is ideal. 

As with reel-to-reel film, the digitisation 
process for VHS and most tape-based 
media calls for both old and new equip- 
ment. For this inter-generational marriage, 
you'll need an analogue-to-digital con- 
verter (ADC). Among the most affordable 
and reliable ADCs is the Elgato Video 
Capture dongle, a squid-like USB acces- 
sory that can be found online for under 
R800. It lets you connect older playback 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



65 



D IY TECH 



equipment - VCRs, camcorders - to your 
computer. 

After you connect the Video Capture 
cable to your computer and video source, 
you'll find the recording process is highly 
guided. Elgato's software will prompt you 
to adjust the recording parameters to your 
liking (the H.264 video format in standard 
definition is generally fine) and then ask 
you to hit Play on the video source. 

When the recording is finished, you'll 
have the option to export files to iTunes 
or Windows Media Player. Instead, simply 
save them to a folder. You'll still be able 
to play the files in your media player of 
choice, but this way they won't get hidden 
deep in your computer's file system where 
they might get lost or be forgotten. 

Archiving, or "ripping", DVD video is 
a three-click process. A free application 
called HandBrake, available for both PC 
and Mac, will automatically recognise a 
DVD video when the disc is inserted into 
the computer. Before clicking Start, select 
the Normal quality setting under the Regu- 
lar tab on the right side of the app. The 
rip and conversion should take between 
5 and 30 minutes and will produce an 
archival-quality H.264 video file. 

To estimate your storage requirements, 
assume you need about 75 megabytes 
for every 10 minutes of 5D footage, and 
125 megabytes for every 10 minutes of 
HD footage. In South Africa, the cost of 
storage has fallen to around R1 per giga- 
byte, down from about R7,50 in 2005. 
One-terabyte external hard drives can be 
purchased from your local computer shop 
for around R1 000 and up (prices and avail- 
ability were severely affected by last year's 
floods in Bangkok, where most hard drives 
are manufactured). 

HandBrake is also useful for converting 
digital video recordings in less common 
formats - such as Sony's and Panasonic's 
AVCHD - to an H.264-based .avi file, a 
format that will probably be far better 
supported into the distant future. (H.264 
also plays well with current gadgets, from 
smart TVs to smartphones.) Make sure to 
change HandBrake's conversion settings 
to HD for newer digital video; otherwise 
you'll lose video quality. 

SAVING FOR THE FUTURE 

© By the time you've finished digitising 
your videos, you'll have amassed a folder 
full of files. Capturing the video is the 
hardest step of the archiving process, yes 
- but it's not the last. 

Long-term video storage in the digital 



LAB TEST 



HOW FAST IS THUNDERBOLT? 



Apple introduced the Thunderbolt port in 2011, but only now are we 
seeing a large-scale rollout of Thunderbolt peripherals. Apple says the 

standard is up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. But that's a theoretical number. 

How fast is it in the real world? 



_ SEAGATE GOFLEX _ 
THUNDERBOLT ADAPTER 





R 



GOF LEX PRO 7200-RPM 
500 GB DRIVE 



We transferred a 2,7 GB movie file from an SSD-equipped MacBook Air to 
the drive over USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt. Then we transferred the same file using a 
PC with an internal SSD and a USB 3.0 connection. 

Thunderbolt is fast, but nowhere near as fast as Apple claims. Our test 
file took 84 seconds to transfer from our MacBook Air to our GoFlex drive over USB 
2.0. The same file took 33 seconds over Thunderbolt. Despite USB 3.0's lower 
speed rating {purportedly 5 gigabits per second), the file transferred in 35,2 seconds 
- close to parity with Thunderbolt. 

Until the cost of the equipment comes down - the R400-plus cable is 
not included - Thunderbolt is absolutely not worth the price unless you're routinely 
transferring truly huge files. - GLENN DERENE 



age is fundamentally new. The University 
of Southern California Shoah Foundation 
Institute, which maintains a collection of 
more than 51 000 historically invaluable 
video testimonies by Holocaust survivors, 
recently converted its library from tape 
to digital video; 234 000 tapes were fed 
through dedicated digitisation stations, 
converted to digital video, and sent to be 
stored in a facility that looks more like a 
Google data centre than a library. 

Although USC's project was far bigger 
than any of ours, its procedures are 
instructive: the university didn't just 
digitise its video; it backed it up. 

Backing up video doesn't necessarily 
mean buying a stack of new hard drives or 
a dedicated backup system such as Apple 
Time Capsule. It's really just a matter of 



duplication: you haven't really archived 
your video until you've made two inde- 
pendent copies of it. For newly converted 
videos, that can mean a number of things. 
You can simply store your video files on 
both your computer's hard drive and an 
external USB hard drive, or you can upload 
your video files to YouTube or Vimeo, 
where they can be designated as Private. 

Should one hard drive fail, you can 
immediately copy your videos to another. 
If, say, Google decided to shut down You- 
Tube - remember, we're thinking long-term 
here - you can re-download your videos 
from the site, upload them to another, or 
save them locally. This ongoing process 
guarantees more than peace of mind - it 
means that for the rest of your life, your 
video will be as easy to watch as it is safe. PM 



66 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



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OUTSIDE 



CLIMBING 



BY JIM GORMAN I PICTURES BY JASON GOULD 




**IRON WAY. 




CLICK, CLACK. Click, clack. 
The clatter of aluminium 
carabiners clipping and 
unclipping fills the air on 
this late summer afternoon. 
Pendulous clouds drape the upper 
slopes of Spruce Knob, the highest 
peak in West Virginia, and threaten 
rain. At the moment, though, only 
a fine mist penetrates a canopy 
of oak and locust at the base of 
Nelson Rocks, where guide Josh 
Armstrong and 1 watch nine climb- 
ers, led by guide Jason Cain, scale 
a 30-metre quartzite cliff on ladder- 
like rungs anchored in the rock. 
Each climber wears a harness with 
a pair of carabiners on lanyards 
clipped to a steel safety cable 
that runs alongside the rungs. At 
2-metre intervals, when a climber 
reaches one of the eyebolts that 
anchor the cable to the cliff, he or 
she detaches one carabiner from 
the cable, clips it back on the cable 
above the bolt and then does like- 
wise with the trailing carabiner. 
Click. Clack. 

"You're up," Armstrong says. He 
isn't a rock-climbing guide in the 
traditional sense. No rope runs 
reassuringly through his expert 
hands to my climbing harness. He 
can't catch me if I fall - and falls 
are heavily discouraged. Slipping 
off the metal rungs might cause 
more injury than a fall while roped 
and on belay in conventional rock 
climbing. "We don't have a dynamic 
rope to catch us, or someone on 
the ground to absorb the shock of 
our fall," Cain said before the 
climb. "We are falling on stainless- 




rr 







i^hp 



3tt 






LARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 






FIXED RUNGS, CABLES, BRIDGES? { 
SOUNDS LIKE SACRILEGE TO 
CLIMBING PURISTS. TO THE REST tf 
OF US, A VIA FERRATA (ITALIAN FOR 
'IRON ROAD') MEANS A WAY TO 
REACH NEW HEIGHTS. 




POPULARMECHANI 



f//fflWfljfteraivaK| 






steel cable. Doesn't stretch much. 
These lanyards? Not going to stretch 
much. We can generate a lot of force 
with a fall. It's going to hurt. So no 
falls." 

No falls. Okay. A familiar nervous 
anticipation overtakes me. I have a 
fair amount of experience on rock, 
though it's been a while since I've 
ascended anything higher than a 
10-metre climbing wall. But with all 
this metal support, I'm confident 
enough to clip both carabiners to 
the steel safety cable, grab a rung 
and start to climb. I won't unclip 
for 5 hours. 

A fixed anchoring system like 
the one at Nelson Rocks is known as 
a via ferrata - Italian for "iron road". 
It stays put while the climbers move 
on: no ropes to lug, no specialised 
gear to buy, no esoteric techniques to 
learn. These networks of ladders, 
cables and bridges were developed 
in the Dolomites during World War I, 
when they were used to move sup- 
plies and infantry through otherwise 
impassable terrain. After the war, 
mountaineers took over the routes 
and today, hundreds of via ferratas 
enable even raw beginners to access 
dramatic ridges and peaks in the 
Alps and Pyrenees. 

At the Nelson Rocks Outdoor Centre, 
the 530 metres of 20-mm aircraft- 
grade stainless-steel cable (tensile 
strength: 5 360 kilograms), the 115 
stainless-steel rungs and the 145 iron 
bolt hangers that went into building 
the via ferrata open one of the most 
unusual geologic formations in the 
region to exploration. Parallel fins of 
exposed Tuscarora quartzite rise high 
above the North Fork Valley like the 
bony plates on the back of a stego- 
saurus. Just 70 metres separates 
those fins, and in an inspired feat of 
amateur engineering, the via ferrata's 
builders link them with the route's 
most spectacular feature - a suspen- 
sion bridge spanning the distance. 

The route begins near the 

southern end of the west fin. Soon 
trees that towered above me at the 
base appear below as nubs in a 
green shag carpet. Near the top of 
the fin, which has narrowed to less 
than 2 metres, I enter a cleft in the 
rock, take a few steps and emerge in 
a portal with a spectacular view on 
the other side of the cliff - the east 
fin, rearing up out of the hardwood 
forest, and below, the spindly sus- 




The team of climbers that built the Nelson Rocks via ferrata used Epcon A7 (left), an anchoring 
adhesive, to secure the 450 mm eyebolts (right, centre) that hold up the route's 70-metre suspen- 
sion bridge. Drilling the hole for each eyebolt destroyed three carbide-tipped masonry bits. 





70 



Every 2 metres, climbers must 
unclip their carabiners (left) to 
move past the bolts securing the 
safety cable to the rock. 
Repositioning the 'biners one at 
a time ensures a constant con- 
nection to the cable. Via ferrata 
builder Doug Downs (above) 
holds an extra-wide rung. All 
rungs have a welded rivulet on 
the top side for added grip. 



POPULARMECHANJCS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



■ 






pension bridge that spans the gap. 

The bridge is composed of wire 
handrails, an overhead safety cable 
and 50 x 100 mm beams 40 cm apart. 
From the portal I step off a rung, 
scramble along a ledge and then 
climb on to the bridge. It's like walk- 
ing on a ladder laid flat - if that 
ladder were swaying in the wind 
50 metres above the ground, bucking 
with each step. 

Not everyone who attempts the 
via f errata has the nerve to walk 
these planks, so an escape route just 
before the bridge leads to a hiking 
trail back to the base. Although the 
bridge is scary fun, the truth is that 
in building it, as with every aspect 
of the route, overkill ruled. 

Stu Hammett, a lanky 53-year-old 
who speaks in a clipped cadence typi- 
cal of southern Maryland, bought 
Nelson Rocks in 1997, just three years 
after a 13-metre climbing fall left him 
partially paralysed. But he was deter- 
mined to climb again and to own 
land in the North Fork Valley, which 
he had come to love on climbing 
trips. With the help of special braces, 
he got back into the sport. A story in 
the local paper alerted him to the sale 
of the Nelson Rocks property, making 
the other dream possible. 

An initial stab at opening the crag 
to climbers on a fee basis failed to 
cover costs. Then in 2001, Hammett 
read an article about a via ferrata 
that had just opened at Torrent Falls 
in Kentucky. "I knew right away 
that's what I'd build," Hammett says. 
"I got a quote from a French via fer- 
rata builder and I said. There's no 
way I'm paying that price.' This is 
West Virginia, where we know how 
to do things ourselves." 

Hammett hired seven self- 
described "dirtbag" climbers from up 
the road at Seneca Rocks to do the 
build, which began in February 2002. 
"I wanted something that would still 
be there when the rock wore away 
to dust, but it was all built by seat- 
of-the-pants engineering," Hammett 
says. They planned the via ferrata 
around established climbing routes 
and to take advantage of the forma- 
tion's features. Working from the 
ground up, the builders drilled and 
glued in 115 rungs that can each 
support an estimated 4 000 kg. 

To build the bridge, a team on top 
of the west fin dropped a static line 
and a 6-mm cord, which a second 
team hauled across the gap and to 
the top of the east fin. Once the 



POPULARMECHAN1CS. 



static line was taut, the east fin crew 
pulled the cord across as the west fin 
crew attached carabiners to link the 
line and the cord at 5-metre inter- 
vals, creating a trolley system. When 
the carabiners were attached, the 
west fin crew hauled the trolley back 
and clipped in a 20-mm galvanised 
steel cable, which the crew on the 
east fin pulled across the gap. "The 
cables were so heavy, they would've 
sagged," says Doug Downs, who 
helped build the route. "We didn't 
have the tools or the manpower to 
pull a big sag out of the cable." 

Once that cable was secure, the 
process was repeated until all the 
cables were in place. The carabiners 
were undipped and the crew rode 
across on pulleys to complete the 
bridge. 

The bridge load is carried by 
eyebolts anchored with acrylic adhe- 
sive in holes 450 mm deep. It took 
two climbers on rappel to bore the 





holes - one to wield a hammer drill 
and the other to press against the 
driller's back, gaining leverage by 
stuffing climbing cams into cracks 
and pulling hard on the attached 
ropes. There are 10 anchor holes; 
each required 90 minutes to drill. "It 
was a three-dimensional puzzle to 
put the anchors in the right place so 
that when the cables were tensioned, 
they were in the proper relationship," 
Hammett says. "We'd be up late 
drinking beer and trying to solve the 
next day's problems. There were 
arguments, some sore feelings, but it 
was one of the most exciting times 
of my life." 












Mainstream climbers and 

managers of public land agencies are 

uneasy about marring rock with any- 
thing man-made (see "Locals love it... 
and hate it"). The rise of sport climb- 
ing (which uses permanent anchor 
bolts) in the late 1980s sparked con- 
troversy among traditional climbers. 
The conflict eventually faded. Still, 
says Brady Robinson of the American 
climber advocacy group Access Fund, 
glueing rungs and bolting cable 
into rock with the intent of making 
money is "shocking to plenty of 
climbers. But via ferratas are not 
inherently bad. You just don't want 
one in pristine wilderness or un- 
tracked forest". 

By locating the outdoor centre 
on private land, Hammett escaped 
opposition. But the via ferrata still 
raises questions, even with Downs. 
"I've always battled with whether 
the via fit in my ethical boundary," 
he says. "Are we allowing people 
who shouldn't be up there to be up 




72 




there, or are we furthering conserva- 
tion by bringing people somewhere 
they wouldn't be able to go, so they 
can see it and support its protection?" 

Whether I could have scaled the 
crest of the east fin without the metal 
rungs is questionable. The headwall 
guarding it is intimidating: 20 metres 
high and overhanging. Climbers are 
forced to lean back slightly, which 
tires the arms. As I climb, I pause to 
watch as the cloud deck that shad- 
owed us all day breaks apart and sun- 
light turns dull-coloured rock to gold. 

I had intended to stand, arms out- 
stretched, when I reached the apex. 
But the perspective here is dizzying. 
The block appears to be suspended 
in midair, and though I'm still safely 
clipped to the via ferrata, I have an 
overpowering sensation of being air- 
borne - and a case of vertigo. The 
best I can manage is a surfer's crouch. 
So I move my carabiners past the 
bolts one at a time and head for 
solid ground. Click, clack. Click, clack. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



■ 



Locals love it... and hate it 



South Africans haven't had 

much exposure to the via ferrata. But 
even that limited exposure has been 
sufficient to ignite enthusiasm - and 
a row. 

The Mountain Club of South Africa 
has joined the chorus of outrage 
over the potential environmental 
impact of an apparently unauthor- 
ised via ferrata route on the uKha- 
hlamba Drakensberg Park World 
Heritage Site's Beacon Buttress. 

Mountain Club president Dave 
Jones says that his organisation 
actively promotes low-impact activi- 
ties and protection and conservation 
of mountain wilderness areas. Internal 
investigations into possible Club 
members' involvement will follow. 

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, which con- 
trols the park, has threatened legal 
action against those responsible. 
Besides, even though this is not a 
proclaimed wilderness, a via ferrata 
is simply not in line with plans for 



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the area, Ezemvelo says. But on the 
other side of the country it's a differ- 
ent picture: the via ferrata on Shelter 
Rock to the summit of the 
Magaliesberg has drawn enthusiastic 
reviews since its completion in 2009. 
The route is one of a range of activi- 
ties offered by the operators, in fact, 
from abseiling to hikes. 

According to Shelter Rock, via fer- 
rata has become the fastest-growing 
outdoor activity in Europe. There are 
more than 300 of the routes world- 
wide as far afield as the USA, New 
Zealand, England and Malaysia. 

It took four years (including an 
environmental impact assessment 
process) to obtain the required per- 
missions for Shelter Rock, as the 
route is constructed in the Magalies- 
berg Natural Protected Area. The 
route itself is named after engineer 



The via ferrata on 

Shelter Rock to the 

summit of the Magaliesberg 

has drawn enthusiastic 

reviews. / 



and mountaineer Sarel van 
Rensburg, who - along with his 
sons - laid out the stairway's final 
route. Similar to European designs, 
it complies with EU and SABS 
standards. 

Climbers on the Shelter Rock via 
ferrata use an abseiling harness 
and cowtails fitted with an indus- 
trial shock absorber. The cowtails 
are attached to an 8 mm galva- 
nised steel cable fixed to the cliff 
face every 2 metres. The steps 
them-selves are designed to support 
an individual weight in excess of 
500 kg. 

Anyone in good health and fit 
enough to handle trail hiking 
would be right at home, the oper- 
ators say. However, children shorter 
than 1,3 metres and aged under 
13 are discouraged. Apart from 
the supplied equipment, climbers 
need nothing more elaborate 
than loose-fitting clothing and 
good shoes such as tennis shoes or 
light hiking boots. Allow at least 6 
to 7 hours for the via ferrata and 
double pitch abseil, or about 2 to 
3 hours less if hiking back down 
the marked trail. PM 



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POPULARMECHANICS.C O.ZA • MAY 2012 



73 



Glow, man 



Electroluminescence is shedding a whole new light 
on everything from displays to safety gear 

IMAGINE A LIGHT SOURCE thin enough 
to wear on a T-shirt or adorn a magazine 
cover, efficient enough to run on battery 
power and light a room, yet rugged enoi 
to do duty as a billboard covering an 
entire building. 

These are just a few of the fast-multi- 
plying applications in the exciting world 



by electroluminescent technology. You've 
probably seen it, without realising it. You 
know those lighting effects in the movie 
Tron that you thought were computer- 
generated? That was actually EL. 

The technology is not new: it was being 
mooted for US aircraft instruments in the 
1930s. However, advances - specifically, 
in materials suitable for thin film displays 
- have boosted development of the concept. 
So much so, that a local concern has con- 
vinced itself that EL is the next big thing 
and has made the switch from importing 
EL displays to becoming first in Africa to 
manufacture them. 

"Essentially, we print micro-encapsula 
phosphors (see "Inside EL") to produce _ 
variety of effects at a huge efficiency gain 
compared with conventional displays such 



director of Cape Town -based Lumo Tech- 
nologies. "The display operates at very low 
power - half that of traditional lightin 
typical setup uses the mains 220 V supply 
with a 12 V inverter." 

Lumo makes two types of display: 

• A white backlit panel like a light-box, 
with light shining through a translucent 
overlay. Light intensity can be varied 
according to the amount of phosphors used. 

• An animated electroluminescent panel. 
It's the second method that has adver- 
tising and marketing specialists all agog. 

Because of the thinness of the material 
used in producing the display, it can be 
bent and shaped (anything short of an 
actual fold). It can be dropped into a table 
top, curved around a bottle, or moulded 
around a car's bodywork. 

A printed circuit board and an appro- 



Lumo media's Stephen Schutte gets to 
grips with lighting that can be bent, 
shaped - and printed. 




priate power source - say, miniature disc 
batteries, perhaps even solar - add to EL's 
versatility. "Because the display is a mov- 
ing as opposed to a static source, it's been 
calculated that awareness is increased 



more than six-fold," says Schutte. 

The applications are wide-ranging. "We 
can light up DVD covers and high-visibility 
clothing. We have done a magazine cover." 



It can be activated L 7 
proximity. 
As with all new technology, there's a 



aisuncr. siowness to emDrace . 
the market to understand that there are 
no bulbs here is the hardest thing," says 
Schutte. "Having said that, though, I have 
not been in a presentation where the client 



has not gone wow 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Some fields are receptive, though. "We 
have had good response from the adver- 
tising world, especially the drinks business. 
They are aware of the possibilities." 

One of his company's landmark (in more 
ways than one) installations has been a huge 
billboard that covers the entire frontage of 
a building in Cape Town's nightlife artery, 
Long Street. To the uneducated eye, the 
^-lished product looks like a conventional 

imated neon display showing beer being 
Doured into a glass. 

"The question is, what would you normally 
use to accomplish this?" Schutte asks. The 
sual options are digital TV, neon and LED. 
^n this outdoor application TV is a non- 
starter; neon costs 40 to 50 per cent more; 
and LED is hellishly expensive." In the end, 
it cost about Rl,5 million to achieve the 
desired effect - and you couldn't do the 
same thing with alternatives unless you 
had deep pockets, he says. 



But there are many, many more applica- 
tions. And more become apparent all the 
time. "We have started to print for the 
safety industry. We can do lanyards, har- 
nesses, rope - we can produce a rope that 
lights for eight hours," Schutte explains. 

They are moving into the realm of vehi- 
cles, working with the likes of vehicle- 
branding company Graffiti, which does 
upwards of 100 promotional brandings 
of vehicles a month. 

In-store, instead of the expense and 
complexity of running mains power down 
the aisles for their displays, supermarkets 
could use self-contained battery-powered 
units. "We can incorporate a sensor unit 
to detect a customer in close proximity. 
This could lend a kind of 'interactivity' to 
the display, with possibly a touchscreen 
element as well that activates the lighting 
only when touched. 

"This is opening up huge possibilities." 

EL needn't be restricted to the world of 

marketing and commerce, either. It surely 

wont be long before we're able to simply 

touch a blank wall at home and see it 

spring into glowing life with gentle mood 

lighting that can be static or animated, 

according to our wishes. PM 



Right: Powered illuminated strands can be 

woven through rope to provide visibility for 

rescue workers and riggers. 

Below: Electroluminescent tech was used to create 

this billboard with less complexity and hassle 

than alternative methods such as neon. 




EL 



Unlike incandescent lighting - which 
essentially uses the principle of heating 
materials until they glow - electrolumines- 
cence relies on an electronic reaction that 
causes certain substances to emit light. 
These substances are typically found in the 
form of a semiconductor and composed of 
rare earth compounds or transition metals. 

In use, a strong electric field excites and 
accelerates the chosen material's electrons. 
These electrons interact with semiconductor 
"holes" and release their energy as light. 

One of the more common combinations 
used to create the kind of thin film used in 
the lighting applications shown here is zinc- 
sulphur-manganese (ZnS:Mn). The raw 
materials used in the local process cost 
nearly R1 million a kilogram and are sourced 
from China, which dominates world markets. 

"Without divulging too much, we mix 
phosphors with chemicals and print a 
series of layers on an energy-conductive 
film," says Lumo's Stephen Schutte. "We 
then capture that with a laminator." 

Naturally, nothing is forever. Typical 
lifespan is about two years, after which 
time the phosphors degrade and light 
output drops. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 







fell 





Main picture: A computer-generated image of the 
University of Johannesburg's soon to be completed 
llanga I solar-powered vehicle. Bottom strip, left to 
right: The BAR 1, the hybrid vehicle that inspired the 
creation of U J's Alternative Energy Vehicle Project; 
Kegan Smith poses with their hydrogen-powered 
vehicle; Side profile of llanga I; Line drawings of 
llanga II, UJ's second-generation solar vehicle. 



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Taking the 

GREEN ROUTE 

Budding engineers prepare for the 2012 South African Solar Challenge 








Oil lubricates the wheels that keep our modern world running. 

At some stage, though, our dependency on this unsustainable fuel source 

is going to have to come to an end. Fully- 
aware of the transportation challenges 
that lie ahead, a multi-disciplinary team 



Johannesburg is tackling the issue head 
on. Their objective: to come up with a 
real-world solution. 

But closer to the here and now, these 
pragmatic boffms-in-the-making have 
set their sights on a more immediate 
goal. They intend showcasing their 
research to date by entering three alter- 
native energy vehicles - one powered by 
the Sun, one running on hydrogen and 
the other incorporating a small turbine - 
into this year's South African Solar 
Challenge. They will be competing 
jainst other university teams from 
across the globe. 

You only have to fill up your fuel tank 
<™ * «wnil* r basis and monitor your 
ic in lis: uank balance to realise how 



given that non-renewable fossil fuels are 
going to become more expensive over 
time. So, too, is the reality that petroleum 
currently provides about 40 per cent of 
the world's energy needs, and that some 
expect global energy consumption to 
grow threefold over the next 25 years. 
Then there's that inconvenient truth - 
global warming - exacerbated by the 
burning of fossil fuels. 

Clearly, something constructive has to 
be done. The sooner some bright spark 



BY SEAN WOODS 



comes up with a viable solution, the 
better. With this in mind, the University 
of Johannesburg sprang into action. UJ 
encourages its students to think energy 
innovation, sustainable engineering 
design and manufacturing, and environ- 



What better way to promote this 
strategy than the biennial South African 
Solar Challenge? 

Masters student Kegan Smith, who 
heads UJ's alternative energy vehicle 
project, explains: "We've found that, if 
you provide people with a challenge, 
thev rise to the occasion. The race is a 



great platform tor exposing our students 
to real-world issues and deadlines while 
working on their studies. And, as tack- 
ling real-world issues requires a holistic 
approach, we have pulled our mechanical, 
electrical and electronic engineering, 
industrial design, IT and marketing 
departments into the project." 

Students from these various disciplines 
have come together to design three vehi- 
cles, all of which are currently under 
construction. Each incorporates a battery 
bank and an alternative energy source; 
one uses use solar panels, another is pow- 
ered by a turbine generator, and the third 
incorporates a hydrogen fuel cell. 

To ensure continuity, the project runs 
on an overlapping three-year cycle. Each 
team of students participates in the 
project for the full three years, from 
undergraduate to postgraduate level - 
thus encouraging knowledge transfer 
and the peer mentoring process. Each 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Taking the green route 




"V 





Above: An exploded view of the llanga /. 
Below left: A CAD illustration displays 
aerodynamic design. 

Velocity: Magnitude (m/s) 
—27,767 

25.297 




78 



vehicle is then tested in a solar challenge 
event, and then modified and refined by 
the next generation of students. 

How it all began 

When UJ started the development of its 
first hybrid vehicle - the BAR-1 - its sole 
intended purpose was as a technology 
demonstrator for masters students. The 
2010 Solar Challenge was a tantalising car- 
rot, five months away. But no one actually 
expected it to be completed in time. "Our 
lecturers were convinced we wouldn't suc- 
ceed, but they didn't tell us it was impossi- 
ble - they're like that," laughs Smith. 

To everyone's surprise, they completed 
the BAR-1 on time. What's more, they 
won the Adventure class and came in at 
second place overall. 

"It incorporated much more than you'd 
find in a normal car," says Smith. "Its 
robotic system, which I like to call 'the 
next step to cruise control', used lasers 
and actuators on the steering wheel and 
pedals to faithfully follow a car driving in 
front of it. Understandably, we didn't use 
it on the race for safety reasons - anyway, 
it was a work in progress." 

To get it moving, Smith and his fellow 
students combined a Yamaha R6 motor- 
cycle engine, hydrogen fuel cell, batteries 
and an electric motor to create one multi- 
ple-input hybrid powerplant. "Because of 
its parallel configuration, it could be pow- 
ered by both the R6 and electric motors, 
or just electric regeneration, depending 

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




on how we chose to run at the time." 

Needless to say, the BAR-l's success 
generated huge excitement on campus, 
and the powers-that-be quickly realised 
they had a winning concept on their 
hands. Then and there, UJ's Alternative 
Energy Vehicle Project was born. 

Bring on the Sun 

On the solar front, two vehicles are in the 
works; Ilanga I (Sun in isiZulu), which is 
almost complete and ready to pass on to 



Below left: Master's students Tony Corregedor 
(left) and Sven Holte collect data on their 6 kW 
' ine. Right: Apart from their different power- 
ts, the hydrogen- and turbine-powered 
chicles are identical. 



the next generation of undergraduates - 
and the decidedly more sophisticated 
Ilanga II (which they expect to complete 
in time for the next SASC race in 2014). 

At the heart of Ilanga I is an aluminium 
space-frame chassis featuring pushrod 
double wishbone front suspension, with a 
swing arm taking care of the rear. Light- 
weight marine ply ribs and stringers sup- 
port its outer aerodynamic glass fibre shell. 
The terrestrial solar cells - they collectively 
cover an area of 6 m 2 - are arranged into 
five arrays. Each array incorporates a 
point tracking system to ensure maximum 
cell efficiency. Then, just in case the Sun 
doesn't shine, lithium batteries act as 
energy buffers. 

Building Ilanga I proved to be a chal- 
lenging experience. The solar project 
leader, Warren Hurter, explains: "As 
undergraduates last year, we had to learn 
how to build a chassis, fabricate our own 
circuit boards and work with composite 
materials from scratch. It didn't take us 
long to discover that coming up with a 
viable CAD design was the easiest part." 

Serious effort went into developing 



software used to manage race strategy. 
"It's all about power management. You 
start with full batteries and from then on 
you have to rely on the Sun," says fellow 
team member Stephan Schoeman. "To 
make this happen we had to factor in var- 
iables that included weather, sunrise and 
sunset profiles, maximum gradient we 
could traverse and how to make up ener- 
gy through regenerative braking. We also 
have to be able to calculate these values 
in real time without contacting the driver 
too much, as communication systems 
require lots of power." 

Work has just begun on their second- 
generation solar vehicle, Ilanga II. Once 
finished, this futuristic looking set of wheels 
will be one of the most expensive vehicles 
to be found on SA roads. Its 3 m 2 of space- 
grade Gallium Arsenide solar panels (the 
most efficient produced to date) cost about 
R3 million alone. Two super-efficient rear 
hub motors, power converters and control- 
lers are collectively worth about R800 000. 
And let's not forget the fabrication of a car- 
bon fibre monocoque chassis with gullwing 
doors, lithium battery pack, two custorn- 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



wmvwia&mwimMvmu\\m*t^ 






Top: Once complete, UJ's futuristic-looking llanga II 
solar vehicle will be one of the most expensive sets 
of wheels to be found on SA roads. 






designed seats that form part of the 
safety structure and four carbon fibre 
motorcycle wheels. 

The same, but different 

Apart from their different powerplants, 
the hydrogen- and turbine-powered 
vehicles are identical. They use the same 
chassis, lithium battery packs and electri- 
cal systems to drive their permanent 




magnet synchronous motors. The idea is 
that future students can some day replace 
components - for example, the battery 
management system - with their own, 
says Smith. "And, if they work better, 
we'll incorporate them." 

The hydrogen-powered derivative 
incorporates an old 5 kW permanent 
exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, 
sourced from a cellular base station. 

Hydrogen is a green fuel, but 
it's also tricky to work with 
because of its volatility. 
Safety is critical: "We can't 
afford to have any leaks 
whatsoever," Smith says. 

The hobby-grade turbine 
motor measures a mere 51 by 
20 cm. But despite its small 
size, modest 6 kW output and 
high-rewing nature (it idles 
at 70 000 r/min and goes up 
to 180 000), it is more than 
capable of spinning the gener- 
ator that keeps the batteries 
charged. 

Multi-fuel compatible (it 
currently burns paraffin, and 
there are plans to run it on 
methane), it boasts an opera- 
tional efficiency of between 
50 and 60 per cent, signifi- 
cantly better than a piston 
engine's rather modest 32 per 
cent. Another plus: it has only 
three moving parts. "I honest- 
ly feel that, if more attention 
had been put into turbines 
instead of internal combus- 
tion engines, we'd be in a bet- 



ter place right now," says Smith. 

When the teams competing in the 2012 
Solar Challenge hit the road in September, 
UJ hopes to have all three of its designs 
on the start line. The llanga I will take 
part in the entry level solar class and the 
other two will compete in the Adventure 
class. Once complete, the llanga II will 
be entered into the presigious Olympia 
category for the next event, taking place 
in 2014. 

• Follow the progress of llanga I and llanga 
II on the University of Johannesburg's solar 
car Web site www.ujsolar.co.za 



RACING FOR GLORY 

The internationally recognised biennial 
South African Solar Challenge, which 
takes place this September, is a race 
not to be taken lightly. Designed to 
showcase solar technology and alterna- 
tive energy breakthroughs, it's a gruel- 
ling, two- week affair. Competitors take 
on a circuitous 5 000 km route from 
Johannesburg, down to Cape Town, 
along the coast up to Richards Bay, and 
then back to the Gauteng start line. 

"The designs entering the event are 
not toys; they are world-class competi- 
tive vehicles," says Professor Johan 
Meyer, head of UJ's Electrical Engin- 
eering School. "To give you some idea 
of what I mean, the Japanese team 
that beat us in 2010 used scrapped 
solar panels from the Hubble tele- 
scope. The cost of these vehicles can 
run into six zeros." PM 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



SPECIAL READER OFFER 



Explore the UNIVERSE with Popular Mechanic! 

JOIN OUR EXCLUSIVE GUIDED COACH TOUR TO SUTHERLAND AND THE FAMOUS 
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FRIDAY MAY 1ST 

Depart by luxury coach from Cape 
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SATURDAY MAY 19TH 

You'll enjoy a leisurely breakfast and 
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return coach journey to Matjiesfontein 
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.JDAY MAY 20TH 

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81 



FEATUPE 





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landed in subscribers' ma. 
around the country were admitting audiences to one of the most extraordinary 
wildlife films ever produced, the visually spectacular One Life. Produced by 

BBC Earth Films and narrated by British actor Daniel Craig, this ground- 
breaking natural history documentary uses specially developed equipment 
and filming techniques to show animals at critical moments in their lives. 
In these pages, we introduce some of its leading characters... 






POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



IMAGES > Download wallpaper images of selected animals at www.popularmechanics.co.za 




For starters. One Life is unlike any other 
natural history documentary: it's intimate, 
high on drama and unashamedly emo- 
tional, with beautiful sequences that cele- 
brate animal behaviour and ingenuity. As 
its creators tell it: "There are moments to 
make you gasp in awe, stare in wonder, 
laugh and cry." 

In essence, the film celebrates the 3,8 
billion-year-old story of life and survival on 
the third rock from the Sun - and not every 
chapter has a happy ending. You'll meet 
a frog no bigger than a human fingernail, 
watch a group of 40-ton humpback whales 
battling for supremacy and witness the 



epic journey of a tiny poison arrow frog 
as it scales an impossibly tall tree to feed 
its tadpoles in the canopy. 

Meanwhile, tucked away in her shadowy 
cave, an octopus mother makes the ulti- 
mate sacrifice: she's cared for her eggs 
over many weeks while she slowly starves. 
Her final glimpse is of her eggs hatching 
and hundreds of baby octopi swimming 
away. Cest la vie. 

As the young grow, they confront the 
lifelong search for food, and the film 
shows different species that have come 
up with amazing solutions. Cheetahs 
have discovered the power of working as 



a team; capuchin monkeys have worked 
out a series of steps - and included tools 
in their strategies - to gather and manipu- 
late palm nuts. It's a fascinating and 
amazingly time-consuming skill: they 
spend up to eight years teaching their 
young the essential skills - stripping off 
the outer shell, drying the nut in the sun 
and using a boulder "hammer" carried 
from the river bed to crush the nut on an 
anvil-like rock. 

Some creatures have a "killer" advan- 
tage in the hunt for food, among them 
the venomous Komodo dragon: one bite, 
and even a large water buffalo is destined 



'For the filmmakers who spend their entire lives recording beautiful images of planet 
Earths dwindling wildlife, I have only a sense of awe and a deep-rooted respect/ 

— Daniel Ciaig 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



83 



FEATURE I 









'We wanted to fly, run, swim, hunt and fight alongside our animal 
stars, letting the audience feel they are right there with the 
animals, experiencing the drama of their everyday lives/ 



:O.ZA» MAY 2012 



'... this may be one of the lost opportunities we have left to show the world the 
complexities and wonders of their lives' - Michael Gunton and Martha Holmes 




for a slow, painful death. In the hunt for 
food, some animals have developed near- 
miraculous means of escaping - such as 
running on water, like the quaintly named 
Jesus Christ lizard, or making their bodies 
impact-proof, like the pebble toad. And 
in the struggle for supremacy, snow mon- 
keys have created societies that uncom- 
fortably mirror aspects of human society, 
shunning outsiders from their luxurious 
hot springs. 

Say Michael Gunton and Martha Holmes, 
who co-wrote and directed the film: "With 
the filming technology available to us now, 
we can get our cameras into places that 
give new and high impact perspectives on 
the drama of animal survival. We wanted 
to fly, run, swim, hunt and fight alongside 
our animal stars, letting the audience feel 
they are right there with the animals, 
experiencing the drama of their everyday 
lives." 

It was the perfect time to make such a 
film, say the directors - partly because 
the breakthrough in HD technology with 
new high-speed and time-lapse photo- 
graphy meant they could film the most 
extreme and extraordinary animal be- 
haviour for the first time in the most 
exquisite detail. 

"It was also because as we enter the 
third millennium and understand more 
and more about the way animals live and 
survive, we're also understanding more 
and more clearly that many of the animals 
in this film are endangered and this may 



be one of the last opportunities we have 
left to show the world the complexities 
and wonders of their lives." 

More than four years in the making, 
and spanning habitats on every continent, 
One Life features a number of significant 
"firsts". In fact, almost every story features 
an animal filmed for the first time, a new 
behaviour or a new filming technique 
applied to a familiar animal. The break- 
throughs included: 

• The use of super-high speed cameras, 
revealing hitherto unseen aspects of the 
animals' behaviour. For example, this 
allowed them to film sailfish attacking a 
baitball. Sailfish swim so fast that it is vir- 
tually impossible to see how they catch 
fish; by slowing down the action 80 times, 
their technique is revealed. 

• The development of a new piece of 
equipment dubbed the "yogicam", where- 
by the stabilised camera normally used 
for filming aerial shots is mounted on a 
counterbalanced arm in an off-road vehicle 
and used for tracking alongside animals. 
In this way, the crew were able to walk with 
elephants, and for the first time create the 
feeling that the audience was in amongst 
the herd. 

• HD Macro cameras reveal intimate 
details that can't be seen with the naked 
eye, allowing the audience to be up close 
and personal with the animals as they 
fight for survival. 

• Gems include brown tufted capuchin 
cracking palm nuts in super slow motion, 



red foxes hunting Nubian ibex, gyro-sta- 
bilised aerial shots of lammergeyer and 
red-billed tropicbirds in flight, three 
cheetahs hunting co-operatively to bring 
down ostriches, tracking time-lapse of the 
Venus flytrap, Komodo dragons hunting 
buffalo, an elephant shrew running in 
super slow motion, pebble toads bouncing 
down a cliff to avoid tarantulas, Darwin's 
beetles fighting in the tree-tops, and the 
first complete sequence (including aerials, 
underwater and topside) of a humpback 
whale mating contest. PM 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



85 




Paul Potgieter Jr, Aerosud's Innovation 
Programme manager and head of the AHRLAC 
project, shows off the company's soon-to-he- 
completed prototype. When full production 
starts in 2013 this armed, multifaceted flier 
will become the first aircraft to be designed 
and manufactured in South Africa 
since the Roivaalk attack 
helicopter in the 1980s. 



AHRLAC SPECIFICATIONS 



Overall layout: 

Pusher configuration; Uno structured forward 
view for sensors and internal high-velocity 20 mm 
cannon; flexible belly-mounted multi-mission 
sensor pod; high wing for good external view 
and rough field operation. 

Maximum take-off weight: 3 800 kg 
Service ceiling: 9 448 m 




Cockpit: Tandem seat two crew, sized 
for Martin Baker Mk 16 ejection seats; 
large vertical cockpit separation; multi- 
function IFR glass cockpit 




Payload with full fuel: 800 kg-f 




Engine: 1 x Pratt & 
Whitney PT6A-66B 708 
kW (flat-rated) 



86 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



ON THE WEB > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to read Sean's related blog (search k< 



Homegrown multi-role flier 
will take on the world 




FOR GOVERNMENTS WANTING to manage their domain, there's 
nothing quite like an all-seeing eye in the sky to get the job done 
- especially if it's equipped with some useful teeth. However, 
keeping an airborne watch on national assets, and then responding 
with appropriate force should the need arise, generally knocks 
a big dent in national coffers. 

Enter AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance 
Light Aircraft), a home-grown solution to a global problem. Born 
from a collaboration between defence and aerospace company 
Paramount Group and aeronautical component manufacturer 
Aerosud, this locally developed flying machine - the prototype 
is still undergoing development at Aerosud's Innovation and 
Training Centre near Pretoria - has created quite a buzz in 
international aviation circles. 

Here's why. For starters, it's extraordinarily versatile, with the 
ability to tackle anything from basic visual reconnaissance to 
disaster relief and emergency supply, advanced electronic surveil- 
lance roles (via interchangeable pods housed in its fuselage) and 
even light attack roles - all at a fraction of the cost of typical 
airborne platforms. 

THE BIRTH OF AHRLAC 

The rationale behind its development makes perfect sense. On the 
one hand, there's the cost factor. Thanks to the global financial 
crunch, even affluent Western governments are under pressure 
to cut defence spending. Faced with this reality, cash-strapped 
developing nations are facing serious challenges in tackling the 
effects of climate change, the increasing demand for peace- 
keeping and humanitarian relief missions, terrorism and other 
security issues. 

Another consideration is the rising demand for Unmanned 
Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Although autonomous fliers have racked 
up great press from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (thanks 
largely to the absence of any serious aerial threats in these conflict 
zones), they by no means offer a complete solution. That's because, 
aside from being extremely complex and thus prohibitively 
expensive to operate, they also lack multi-role flexibility and 
situational awareness. 

Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of the Paramount Group, 
elaborates: "The reality is that the technology behind UAVs has 
been oversold, and that the AHRLAC provides a far more com- 
prehensive solution. It has strong defensive capabilities, which 
means it can operate in hostile airspace; plus, it can carry out 
operations in domestic airspace because it's piloted. 



Max cruise speed: 503 km/h 
Max range on internal fuel: 

2 130 km 




Take-off distance: 

550 m with full 
pay load 



Special mission equipment: Conformal and interchangeable mission-specific pod accom- 
modating combinations of: FLIRs, SAR radar, active and passive EW and ELI NT/COM I NT 

External stores: 4-6 wing hard points that can accommodate external fuel tanks; rocket 
pods; beyond visual range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



87 



FEATUPE 



"This makes it ideally suited to some of 
the long-term security issues facing the 
world - such as drug trafficking control, 
piracy, patrol of exclusive economic zones, 
protection of fisheries and rain forests, 
coast guard and border surveillance, and 
the monitoring of strategic installations. 
The cost-effectiveness of this aircraft means 
that more countries will be able to access 
the kind of operational capabilities once 
restricted to a handful of superpowers." 

A third push for the AHRLAC's develop- 
ment was the fact that Aerosud - founded 




in 1990 by the core design teams responsible 
for the development of the Rooivalk attack 
helicopter and Cheetah fighter jet - want- 
ed to retain its design and developmental 
capabilities. 

Explains Paul Potgieter Jr, Aerosud's Inno- 
vation Programme manager and head of 
the AHRLAC project: "Our primary function 
nowadays involves military upgrades as 
well as the manufacturing of parts and 
assemblies for Airbus, Boeing, BAE Systems, 
AgustaWestland helicopters and Spirit 
AeroSystems. However, we realised that 
everyone involved in our aerospace industry 
was approaching retirement age, and 
that if we didn't do something about it, 
we would lose all our local expertise." 

Their solution? Draw as many grey-haired 
aviation boffins as possible into their fold 
- even if that meant seducing some of 
them out of retirement - and teaming 
them with a bunch of inexperienced but 
undoubtedly smart engineering graduates 
to ensure a seamless transfer of skills. 

From this successful strategy was born 
Aerosud's Innovation and Training Centre. 
Dubbed "skunkworks" by insiders (the 
name is derived from America's UI'Abner 



comic strip, later adopted by the Lockheed 
aircraft company during WW2), it's here 
that the 35-strong engineering team, 
with its yawning generation gap, brain- 
storms ideas and comes up with innova- 
tive solutions. 

STARTING FROM SCRATCH 
When Ichikowitz, Potgieter Jr and his father 
(Dr Paul Potgieter, Aerosud's MD) first start- 
ed exchanging ideas for a multi-purpose 
light aircraft that could be fully integrated 
into the high-tech communication network 
of Paramount Group's land-based systems 
in 2008, the two companies already had 
a basic working relationship, but nothing 
was happening on the innovation front. 

What they needed was a modular design 
that could be configured to suit various 
applications and roles. It had to be capable 
of rapid deployment and fast response 
times, able to land and operate from basic 
or semi-prepared airstrips with minimal 



Eventually, the only designer willing to 
get onboard was Manie Warren, a veteran 
with formidable experience in drawing 
aircraft ,and who'd worked on virtually 
every local aviation project since the 1970s. 
Next, they hired Estiaan Jacobsz, freshly 
graduated from Potchefstroom University 
and an enthusiastic pilot. Now the plan 
was starting to come together, and the 
initial design phase could get under way 
- albeit with an incredibly small team, 
and no budget whatsoever. 

After spending a few months hunched 
over computers (not to mention a fair 
amount of begging, borrowing and steal- 
ing as the financial constraints kicked in), 
Potgieter received a surprise call from 
Ichikowitz, who announced that he'd be 
bringing a potential client to see them in 
one month's time, adding that they had 
"better be ready". Recalls Potgieter: "At 
the time, we had nothing ... just a bunch 
of pretty pictures on a PC!" 




or no logistical support, and have short 
take-off and landing capabilities. Oh, and 
it had to be armed. 

The initial plan was to modify a small 
production aircraft, but it soon became 
apparent that such a machine wouldn't 
handle the required payload, so the only 
solution was to design something from 
scratch. As challenging as this seemed at 
the time, it proved to be the least of 
their worries. "I couldn't find anyone to 
join me," recalls Potgieter. "Everyone I 
approached didn't believe it could be 
done here in South Africa." 



Above: All components were designed along 
with engineers' right at the start of the CAD 
process. Top left: Paramount Group's executive 
chairman Ivor Ichikowitz, the driving force 
behind AHRLAC's development. Top middle: 
To verify Aerosud's manufacturing process, 
artisans hand-built one of the twin 3,6 metre- 
long tail booms on a table sans jig. Top right: 
A small model undergoing wind tunnel tests. 



88 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Potgieter's team, now comprising six 
people, went into overdrive to complete 
a mock-up model. Working around the 
clock - and for the last 36 hours, flat out 
without sleep - they managed to make the 
deadline. The rest, as they say, is history. 
Both Ichikowitz and the client were im- 
pressed, Aerosud got their financial back- 
ing, and the project could finally begin in 
earnest. Says Potgieter: "All of a sudden, 
engineers were knocking on our door; 
now I had the pick of the crop!" 

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS 

Realising how costly it was to develop a 
new aircraft from scratch using convention- 
al methods, Aerosud opted for an entirely 
new approach. Potgieter explains: "When 
I sat down and did the costing, I discovered 
that you can expect to spend the same 
amount on jigging as in development. 
There just wasn't enough money available 
for us to double the budget, so innovation 
had to happen - we had no other option." 
Here's what typically happens with such a 
project: first, the aircraft is built entirely by 
hand. Next, a manufacturing engineer de- 
signs the specialist tooling and machinery, 
and develops the processes required to make 
production possible. That accomplished, a 
few aircraft are built to verify the full system. 



According to Potgieter, Aerosud's skunk- 
works operates differently. "Here, we 
design components along with the engi- 
neer right at the start of the CAD process." 
They also bought two important pieces of 
machinery - a five-axis router for cutting 
sheet metal (both in flat form and after 
shaping) and a five-axis milling machine 
for carving components out of solid blocks 
of aircraft-grade aluminium. "If we can't 
use these two machines to manufacture any 
of our designs, we go back to the drawing 
board and start all over again until we 
can." 

To verify their computer-to- 
component manufacturing process, 
Potgieter's team hand-built one of the 
twin 3,6 metre-long tail booms on a fable - 
without a jig. "When we finished it, we 
found we were out by just 0,5 mm. And 
when a full load test was performed, it 
deflected 68 mm, just as predicted. This 
not only validated our new manufacturing 
methodology, but also the expertise of 
the artisans who had built it." 

To date, Aerosud's quarter-scale AHRLAC 
radio-controlled model has conducted 100 
successful test flights, proving that their 
design is aerodynamically sound. They are 
also working flat-out to complete a full- 
sized prototype. Although the AHRLAC's 




maiden flight is expected to take 
place only later this year, the aircraft 

has already garnered serious interna- 
tional attention. 

Says Potgieter: "We've right-sized it for 
the world market. At first, we were target- 
ing only the developing nations, but now 
even First World markets are expressing 
strong interest." 

In basic form, the AHRLAC is expected 
to cost a modest R75,5 million (remember, 
it's all relative). However, if you'd like to 
add some extras - such as a sophisticated 
surveillance system, a high-velocity 20 mm 
cannon or a few rocket pods - you'll have 
to dig a little deeper. 

Visit www.ahrlac.com for more infor- 
mation. PM 



'Everyone I approached didn't believe it could be done here in South Africa/ 



AHRLAC FEATURES 



ANTENNA VERTICAL TAIL 

Internal antenna mount 



WING TIP 

Flare dispenser 
Missile rail 



UNDERWING HARDPOINTS 

Rockets 

Fuel - inner points 

Ordnance 

Missiles 




BOOM AFT 

Missile approach warning 
Laser warner receiver 
Radar warner receiver 



LOWER VERTICAL TAIL 

Internal antenna mounts 
WING TOP CENTRE 

High gain satcom antenna 



m 



ANTENNA BOOM 

Various antennas 



BOOM FBONT 

Weather radar 

FUR 

Enhanced vision system 



NOSE 

Missile approach warning 
Radar warning receiver 
Laser warning receiver 
Enhanced vision system 




SPONSON 

Small sensory equipment 



CANNON HARDPOINT 

Dual cannon mount 
20 mm, 30 mm 



POD 

3 potential attachment 

points 

FUR hall ELINT 

RADAR COMMINT 

CAMERA CARGO 



6 




Top: A quarter-scale radio-controlled model has conducted 
100 successful Mights, proving that Aerosud's design is aero- 
dynamically sound. Above: The legendary Pratt & Whitney 
PT6A-66B turboprop engine was the powerplant of choice. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



89 



Perpetual water tap 



This is a project that will keep people guessing! Water flows from the tap, hour 
after hour, apparently being allowed to run to waste. Those with a wicked sense 
of humour will find it great fun to observe visitors' faces when they notice it. The 
perpetual stream of water is a very successful illusion, and you will find that most 
people are compelled to turn the tap off, and to berate you for wasting water. 

> BY ALAN AND GILL BRIDGEWATER 



TIME 

A weekend (eight hours 
for the copperwork 
plumbing and eight hours 
for digging the sump and 
setting up the pump). 

SAFETY 

Cut copper and clipped 
wire mesh are both diffi- 
cult to hold, with lots of 
splinters of copper and 
sharp, jagged edges, so 
be sure to wear goggles 
and leather gloves. 



You will need 



CROSS-SECTION OF THE PERPETUAL WATER TAP 



Materials for a perpetual water tap 1 m high and 700 mm in diameter 


• Plastic bucket (for the sump) 


• Copper saddle clip: 15 mm 


• Medium-size submersible pump 


with screws to fit 


• Flexible armoured plastic pipe: 


• Compression elbow: 2 copper 


long enough to protect the full 


compression corner joints to fit 


length of the pump cable 


the pipe 


• Hardcore: 1 bucketful 


• Slates or tiles (waste pieces) 


• Electricity circuit breaker 


• Plastic tube: 500 mm long and 


• Natural wooden post: treated 


15 mm in diameter (to link 


with wood preserver, and with 


copper pipe to pump), with 


bark removed, 1 m long 


hose clips to fit 


• Tap: brass or copper wall- 


• Natural border log roll: 2 m 


mounted tap (old or new) 


long, 300 mm high 


• Copper water pipe: 1,2 m long, 


• Plastic sheet: a circle about 1 m 


15 mm in diameter 


in diameter 


• Copper tap bracket: Bracket 


• Galvanised 6 mm wire mesh: 


wall plate with screw thread to 


600 mm square (allows for 


fit the tap, a compression joint 


cutting waste) 


to fit the pipe, with screw to fix 


• Cobbles: 25 kg 


it to the post 




Tools 




• Wheelbarrow 


• Screwdriver 


• Spade 


• Adjustable spanner 


• Tape measure 


• Bucket: for hardcore 


• Log saw 


• Club hammer 


• Pipe cutter: large enough to cut 


• Scissors 


the copper pipe 


• Wire snips 


WATER ON TAP 





The perpetual water tap is an ingenious project: once the pump 
is running, the tap appears to have been left on. The quaint 
brass tap, with the understated wooden post and the log roll 
surrounding fence, suggest that the whole set-up is old. Visit 
car boot sales and flea markets to search out a tap that has 
character, and that can be wall mounted. Ours dated from the 
1920s, and probably comes from an old bath boiler. 



Tap attached 
to post 



Plastic sheet: 
butts up to logs 



Log roll border 



Treated post 



Copper 
water pipe 



Copper 
saddle clip 



Power cable in 
armoured pipe 



I 



Soil M 

Plastic tube 
Hose clip 

Plastic bucket 




Pump 



/ 



Water 



Hardcore 



Slates or tiles: 
to create firm base 



Clean the tap with metal polish and remove the washer. 
Because the perpetual water tap is self-contained, with its own 
integral sump and pump, it can be sited just about anywhere in 
the garden. However, to consolidate the illusion of a functional 
tap, choose a spot where you might conceivably want a water 
supply - perhaps in the corner of an orchard, by the garden 
door, or in a courtyard. 



90 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 




POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



91 



Tap: 

Attached to bracket 



CUTAWAY VIEW OF 
THE PERPETUAL WATER TAP 



Copper waste pipe: 
1 ,2 m long, 15 mm in diameter 



Border log roll: 

2 m long, 300 mm high: treated 
with wood preservative 



Treated post: 1,1 m long 



Compression elbow: 
Corner joint 




Wire holding border 
logs together 



Water 



Pump: 

Medium-sized 
submersible pump 



Plastic tube: 

500 mm long, 

15 mm in diameter 



Bucket sump 



92 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Step by step: Making the perpetual water tap 



Stones: 

Make sure 

that you 

remove any 

sharp stones 



Spade: 

Use a small spade for 
digging clay soil 




1 Use the spade to dig a hole wide 
and deep enough to hold the plas- 
tic bucket. When the bucket is in 
place, the rim should be flush with the 
ground. The bucket must not be 
jammed in place - it should fit easily 
into the hole. Level the bucket with 
pieces of stone if necessary. 



Pump: 

Test the pump after 
every fitting stage 



Cable 
protection: 

Protect the 

cable with 

armoured 

pipe 




Handle: 

Leave the 

bucket handle 

attached until 

the last 

moment. 



Clean the bucket and position the 
pump in it, fitting the cable with 
armoured pipe and an electricity 
circuit breaker. Fill the bucket with 
water. Switch on the power and check 
that the pump is working. (Pumps can 
be fickle - keep testing them during 
construction.) 



Bark: 

Scrape the 
bark off 
the post 



Copper saddle clip: 

Bridge over the copper water pipe 
and screw in place 




3 Measure and cut the post to size 

with the log saw. Use the pipe 
cutter to cut the pipe lengths, join the 
pieces of pipe with the compression 
elbow joints (but do not fully tighten 
the joints), and fit the tap bracket and 
tap. Fix the pipe and tap bracket to 
the post using saddle clips and screws, 
and tighten the compression joints 
with the spanner. 



Joints: 

Avoid over-tightening the 
plumbing joints 



Pipe 
position: 

Ensure that 

the pipe is 

centralised in 

the bucket 




4 Set the post in the ground, plac- 
ing it on tiles to broaden the base 
of the post and prevent it from forc- 
ing itself into the ground. The inflow 
end of the copper pipe goes into the 
bucket. Put broken hardcore around 
the post and beat it down with the 
club hammer. Link the pump to the 
copper pipe by means of the plastic 
tube. 



Fixing the post: 

Bang hardcore 
around the post 
until is firm and 
stable 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



93 



ON THE WEB > For more DIY projects, visit www.popuiarmechanics.co.za 



Arranging the plastic: 

Spread out the plastic and ease it 
up the side of the log roll 



Surround the bucket sump with the 

border log roll, making an enclosed 

well. Cover the well with the plastic 

sheet, cutting a cross in the middle 

so it flaps into the bucket. Cover 

the plastic with the wire mesh. Trim 

the plastic (with the scissors) and the 

mesh (with the snips) so that they 

fit within the well. 



Outlet hole: 

Cut a hole in the mesh for 
the pipe to slide through 



HELPFUL HINT 

If you want to have a larger tap and 
a greater flow of water, you will 
require a bigger apron of plastic 
sheet, so that the increased spray of 
water is directed back into the sump. 



Fill the well with cobbles, concealing 

the plastic and the mesh completely. 

Finally, fill the bucket with water, 

switch on the power, and turn on 

the tap. 



Cobble covering: 

Pile cobbles inside the log 

surround until the mesh is 

completely concealed 




Reproduced from Water 
Features for the Garden, by 
Alan and Gill Bridgewater, 
Published by New Holland. 




Post support: 

The cobbles around the post give it extra support 




94 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



READER OFFER • READER OFFER • READER OFFER • READER OFFER • READER OFFER 




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CONTRACTORS' 
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and DS1 50+DS300 Touqh System™ kit boxes. 



Compact and lightweight design makes 

DeWALT's DCD785L2 

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The all-metal transmission 
improves runtime and greatly A 
increases working tool life. 
Versatility is a given, with 
consistent screwdriving into 
a variety of materials using 
different screw sizes thanks to 
a 14-position adjustable torque 
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The DCD785L2 is part of the intelligent XR 
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call (Johannesburg) 01 1-683 8350 or 
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|- ..'>'! 



DeWALT B2EH&r 



Mechanics 



TO ENTER, ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: 

How many positions does the DeWalt DCD785L2 adjustable torque control system have? 

SMS: Dewalt, followed by the answer, your name and e-mail address to 32697 (R1 ,50 per SMS) 
or visit our Web site at www.popularmechanics.co.za. Competition closes 30 April 2012. 



Rules: 1. Entry is open to anyone except employees (and their immediate families) of RamsayMedia, DeWALT and associated agencies. 2. Only one online entry per person. You may enter via SMS as 
many times as you like (SMS charged at R1,50). 3. Competition runs until 31 May 2012. 4. We will draw the winner(s) on 8 June 2012. 5. The prize is not redeemable for cash. 6. The judges' decision is 
final and no correspondence will be entered into. 7. Regrettably, only South African residents are eligible for prizes. 8. Prizes not claimed within 3 months will be forfeited. 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



95 



— BY BEN WOJDYLA- 




MflmiHBBW IHIBI 

keeps the inside in 
and the outside out. 
When these rubber 
seals go bad, your car 
will leak heat and air 
conditioning, as well 
as face assault from 
wind and rain. 



A Into every life a little rain must fall, but it's best if it 
doesn't fall into your car. When weatherstripping - 
the rubber seals that keep water and air from infiltrating 
the cabin through the doors and the boot lid - starts 
going bad, that rain eventually ends up on your seats, 
floorboards, carpet and boot. Sometimes when weather- 
stripping fails, you'll find a slow leak that can cause 

water accumulation - cars have been 
known to end up with a wading pool 
where passengers' feet should go. The 
good news is that identifying problem 
seals isn't very difficult and neither is 
replacing them, although it can be a 
bit expensive. 

Finding a seal breakdown might take 
some detective work. Just because you 
find wet carpet in the rear passenger 
area doesn't mean the failure is in the 
rear passenger door - water has a funny way of sneaking 
around in a car. The wind noise you hear while driving is 
a good indication of the source of the leak; follow it to 
narrow your search. Inspect the seals around the door- 
frame and the perimeter of the door itself. Many times 
you'll find that the seals have cracked with age or that a 
hole has worn through from use. Sometimes the rubber 
will have lost its pliability and can no longer do its job. 
Check by squeezing it between your fingers; if it doesn't 
squish or spring back, it can't make a proper seal. If 
you're having a hard time pinpointing the source of a 
leak, run water from a hose to find it. 

Once you've found the problems, you have several 
ways to address them. Really enthusiastic owners will see 
bad weatherstripping in one part of the car as a sign that 
all of it is failing and will replace all the stripping as pre- 
ventive maintenance. Frugal owners will fix just the prob- 
lem areas; that's fine, too. Cheapskates will break out the 
silicone sealant or duct tape; this is not recommended. 

Weatherstripping comes in two varieties: factory- 
replacement and generic. Generic can be a little sketchy 
and is best suited for a very old car or junker you won't be 
keeping long. If you want a proper fix, and judging by 
your pride in ownership, you do, factory-style replacement 
is the only way to go. Cross-shop your VW dealer against 
aftermarket retailers to find replacement parts you're 
comfortable with. Most of the time aftermarket replace- 
ments are just fine, but it's up to you. Before you start rip- 
ping stuff out of the car, though, compare new pieces with 
what you're replacing to make sure they're all the same 
size, with appropriate cross sections, holes and joints. 

If there are any screws holding the old pieces in place, 
take those out first and set them aside for reuse later. 



A LEAKY 
SITUATION 

I have a great 1984 Volkswagen GTI that I love dearly, 
but lately I've been noticing a lot of wind noise on the 
highway and water dripping down the inside of my win- 
dows when it rains. I suspect the weatherstripping is 
going bad. How can I tell, and if that's the problem, how 
do I replace it? 



96 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



Peel away the stripping; be sure to 
remove the adhesive layer holding it on. 
You may need to use an adhesive remov- 
er to get it all. Next, wipe the weather- 
stripping channel and the new seals with 
a gentle cleanser and towel them dry; 
they may still retain a bit of mould- 
release agent. Apply a very thin bead of 
weatherstripping adhesive (available at 
automotive parts stores) to the channel 
and install the seal lightly at first. Be sure 
everything is properly aligned, then press 
the stripping firmly into place, ensuring 
good contact with the adhesive. Replace 
any screws and allow the adhesive to dry 
as directed. This should solve your whis- 
tles and wetness and prevent any undue 
carpet sogginess in the future. 

WARNING WOES 

Q Every year around the beginning of 
winter, the Low Tyre light shows up 
on my Toyota's dash. I add air and bring 
the tyres up to the recommended pres- 
sure, but the light remains on. Oddly, it 
shuts off in warmer weather. Can you 
tell me how to reset it? 

A With all tyre-pressure monitoring 
systems, if your tyres are correctly 
inflated the warning light should turn 
off on its own once the pressures are 
within spec. Before we go down the 
diagnostics road, we should probably 
eliminate the pressure gauge as the 
source of the problem. When tempera- 
tures turn colder, the volume of the air 
in the tyres shrinks. It's fairly normal to 
have to fill your tyres with additional air 
in the autumn or the winter. The thing is, 
if the pressure gauge is reading wrong it 
could be telling you the tyre is full when 
it isn't. It's probably worth a few bucks to 
get a new, high-quality, handheld gauge 
to make sure you really are filling the 
tyres to the recommended pressure 
before you start blaming the car. 

Now that you know your tyres are cor- 
rectly inflated, let's consider the other 
options. I've seen diagnostic systems 
stubbornly hold on to warning signals 
for no apparent reason. If you're lucky 
enough to have access to an OBD-II scan- 
ner, plug it into your OBD-II port in the 
driver-side footwell, then turn the key to 
the "on" position without starting the 
car. The machine will scan the car's codes; 
you should get one in the format of 
C07XX, which is related to a tyre-pres- 
sure-sensor fault. The scanner will give 
you the option to clear that code, which 
you should do. Then unplug the scanner, 
start the car and see if the light stays out. 
If it doesn't, one of the in-wheel sensors 



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may be malfunctioning. In this case, Toyota 
technicians will have to run a system 
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HARDWARE-STORE PARTS 

Ql changed both the crankcase and 
the transmission oil in my 2001 
Harley Road King the other day, which 
requires new O-rings on the oil-pan 
plugs. After buying them from the bike 
shop, it dawned on me that I might find 
cheaper replacements at my local hard- 
ware store. Sure enough, I found a 
10-pack of what looks like exactly the 
same O-rings for much less. Will these 
withstand the heat generated from the 
engine? 

A This is always an interesting dilemma. 
The thrifty among us peer over to 
the hardware aisle and see visually simi- 
lar components at a fraction of the price 
of factory parts and wonder if they'll 
work. The issue in using household bits 
in motorcyles or cars isn't just whether 
they'll hold up to heat, but if they'll 
endure repeated thermal cycling, chemi- 
cal exposure, compression and vibration 
in the way factory seals will. In all likeli- 
hood, the seals you spotted at the hard- 
ware store match the physical dimensions, 
but not the chemical composition. Using 
those plumbing seals might work on your 
Road King for a while, but over time you 



may find an oily puddle under your bike, 
making you fit every Harley stereotype 
other bikers love to poke fun at. 

ASSAULT WITH BATTERY 

Ql have a 2007 BMW 525i that has 
about 105 000 km on it. It won't be 
long until I need to replace the battery. 
The dealer says that I should let him do 
it so he can reset the computer's charg- 
ing circuit. He says if I replace it myself, 
the battery won't charge properly. Can 
I do this myself and somehow reset 
the computer? 

A Your BMW, being "ze ultimate driv- 
ing machine", actually tracks the 
battery's charge and discharge cycles 
and predicts its usable life. When the 
car's computer decides that a battery is 
up for replacement, the driver gets a 
warning that can't be cleared unless a 
new battery is installed and the car is 
hooked up to a service tester at the 
BMW dealer. This registration process 
records the car's age and mileage and 
resets the battery-life monitor. This isn't 
to say you can't simply swop the battery 
yourself - you absolutely can. However, 
you need to know that the warning 
light will never go away and that you'll 
be responsible for tracking when to 
replace the battery, pm 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



97 






V 



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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



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BUYER'SGUIDE 



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19S/50/1S" 


- Wanh 


R480 


195/50/15" 


- Dunlop - 


R520 


195/50/15" 


- Pirelli - 


R62Q 


195/50/15" 


- Yokohama 


R550 


195/55/15" 


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R49S 


195/65/15" 


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R580. 


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R620 


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- Sunny - 


R570. 


205/55/16" 


- Pirelli - 


R780 


205/55/16" 


- Rockstone 


- R630 


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Ai caiim 


R995 



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- Yokohama 


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- Kenda 


225/45/17 


- Dunlop 


225/45/17" 


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- Rockstone 



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235/40/18" - Regal • R950 



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Dunlop - 


R9S0 


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Yokohama 


R1295 


265/70/16 


- Sonar - 


R1750 


275/40/20" 


- Sunny - 


R1450 


275/45/20 


- Wanh - 


R1600 


31S/35/20" 


- Pirelli - 


R399S 



lid at time of print . < All images 8* logo 



; copyright property of Autostyle Motorsport & thu 



104 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



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Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 



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106 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



BUYER'SGUIDE 



To advertise in Buyer's Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 

Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 




AV8' 

III I.ICOPTf 



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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA* MAY 201 2 



107 




BUYER'SGUIDE 



To advertise in Buyer's Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 
Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 




5 Additive Manufacturing Technology 



,in ###« 



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Accurate and High Strength Parts and Prototypes 



DIMENSION 3D PRINTER and FORTUS 250mc 
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production grade ABS Polycarb Blend Thermo- 
plastic. 

These systems are office friendly - no noise, no dust, 
no fumes, no mess. 

Extremely accurate Stratasys FDM Technology that 
extrudes thermoplastic on an actual CNC tool path. 



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108 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA* MAY 2012 



BUYER'SGUIDE 



To advertise in Buyer's Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 

Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 



RANGER 

Motion activated day/night camera 




94mm 



2 Megapixel 
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flash) 

♦ Photo / video 

♦ TV output 

♦ Tripod socket 

♦ Up to 32GB memory 

♦ Weatherproof 

Also available 
in dark grey 9 



MULT 
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Ranger trail cameras automatically detect and photograph (or video) anything or 
anyone that intrudes the passive infrared (PIR) sensor coverage area. 

Rangers are compact and water resistant and may be mounted outdoors for long 
periods of time. A single set of 8 x AA batteries lasts for up to one year assuming 
15 photos per day and 15 photos per night are taken. 

Contact us for details of a dealer in your area. 
Distributed by Lynx Optics (Pty) Ltd. 

Telephone: 011 792 6644, visit www.lynx.co.za 



9 f J.V 

rpens all major drill bit types - 
, Masonry (inc. SDS Plus), Flat 
)d Bits and Centre-point Wood 
j : 3 - 13mm. Power drill 
erated, mains or cordless. 
Easy to use and accurate because 
fhe grinding jig has all the angles 
W correct tip geometry built in. 




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www.vermontsaies.coao 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA* MAY 2012 



109 




BUYER'SGUIDE 

expose 

Your products to a 
selected audience 

To advertise in 

BUYERS GUIDE 

contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick 

on Oil 783 7030 or email: 

popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 

Popular 
Mechanics 



To advertise in Buyer's Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 
Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 

BEST EVER 



IN PERFORMANCE LIGHTING 



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sales(5)veemotors.co.za 



LIGHTFORCE SPORTING LIGHTS. WORLD LEADERS IN QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE. 






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withstand the toughest conditions, authentic Ughtforce 
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PRINT ON MOST HAM SURFACES ! 

I including: Plastics, metals, wood, glass, crystaL ceramics etc. 
' OO * ^** ^iill WOT 






No precoated items or heat presses required. 

Mugs printed with this system are DISHWASHER SAFE ! 

Systems from R 49,000 + VAT j 



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110 



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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA* MAY 2012 



■ BUYER'SGUIDE 



To advertise in Buyer's Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 

Oil 783 7030 or email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za 



CNC MILLING/ROUTING MACHINES 




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Cutters last for 4 to 5 large 
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on 083 327 9988. • Visit our Demo Centre 



POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



111 




Useful, clever and downright diabolical tips for your home, workshop and garden that will save you time and money, and generally make life a little easier 



WINNING TIP 

KEEP IT CLEAN 

When working with glass fibre, rather than using thinners to clean your brushes 
and other tools, try washing powder. It works well and is less expensive, less smelly 
and less toxic than thinners. I always keep a bucket of washing suds handy and 
drop my brushes into it when I'm finished. I'm saving a fortune on brushes. 

SHARON PRICE 
SIMON'S TOWN 



Get a grip 

If your magnetised screwdriver has begun 
to lose its grip on screws, try this: remove 
the permanent magnet from an old car 
speaker (the stronger the magnet, the 
better) and stroke the screwdriver across 
the magnet 10-15 times to re-magnetise 
the tip. 

IP VAN EEDEN 
HARRISMITH 

Child's play 

If you've ever struggled to squeeze that 
last bit of air from your child's inflatable 
boat or splash pool at the end of summer, 
you might like this hint. Insert a short 
length of thin plastic tubing into the valve 
opening so that it stays open - about 
20-30 mm should do the trick. Now you 
can roll up the inflatable, confident that 
it will once again fit into its ridiculously 
tiny original packaging. 

GREG DUFFETT 
MUIZENBERG 

Protect your car 

Pressing the wrong button on the remote 
and closing the motorised driveway gate 
before your car is out of the way could 
result in an expensive - and embarrassing 
- repair job (it's happened to me). Here's 
how to reduce the risk of damage. First, 
buy a roll of thick and fairly wide adhe- 
sive-backed weatherstripping. Next, clean 
any loose rust, grease and dirt from the 
leading edge of the gate and apply the 
stripping all the way down the cleaned 
edge (this is to cater for combis and 
SUVs). 

Apply a second layer of weatherstrip- 
ping, sticking the second directly on 
top of the first layer. Now, if the gate is 
accidentally closed on a vehicle, the paint 
won't be scratched, and you might even 
avoid a dent - the padding absorbs the 



shock while the collision-detection mech- 
anism kicks in and stops the gate. 

CHRIS GRAHAM 
RANDBURG 

On the level 

When you buy tall wooden chairs for a 
bar or breakfast counter, the seats are 
sometimes too high, and you need to 
trim the legs to achieve the required 
height. Often, however, the legs are 
curved, making it difficult to trim them 
to exactly the same length so that they 
stand level. 

Here's how to do it. First, determine 
the amount that has come off, then place 
each leg in turn in a bucket and fill with 
water to a depth corresponding to the 
required cut-off. Mark the cutting line by 
following the water line (this line will be j 
100 per cent horizontal). Repeat with 
each chair, preferably with the legs 
clamped in a vice. Easy! 

JAN RABIE | 
STELLENBOSCH I 



SEND US YOUR HINT 
- AND WIN 

Send us your best home, garage, work- 
shop and general DIY hints - and win! 
This month's best tip wins a Bosch PFS 105 
spray paint system valued at R1 969. This 
useful tool employs a low-pressure mecha- 
nism to create an air jacket that perfectly 
focuses the paint mist when spraying, so 
you'll use up to 15 per cent less paint. The 
air jet also speeds up the drying process, 
reducing the chances of paint run. An 
adjustable nozzle offers three different 
spray positions: horizontal jet, vertical 
jet and pencil jet. For more information, 
contact Bosch on 01 1-651 9600 or visit 
www. bosch-pt. com/za/en 

Send your tips to: PM Do It Your Way, 
Box 180, Howard Place 7450, or e-mail: 
popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za 
Please include your name, address and 
contact number. Regrettably, only South 
African residents are eligible for the prize. 
Prizes not claimed within 60 days will be 
forfeited. 





Zap those roaches 

Here is a cheap and effective method for killing cockroaches (for the record, we all 
have a problem with these pests at some time or another). Buy boracic acid powder 
(also called boric acid, and not to be confused with borax) from your local chemist 
and combine with two boiled eggs to make small balls. Place these under cupboards, 
under large appliances and in all the other weird places that cockroaches live, keeping 
them away from children and pets. Within two weeks, you should be roach-less. 

ANTON MYBURGH 
EAST LONDON 



PM 



RESERVATION OF COPYRIGHT 

The publishers of Popular Mechanics reserve all rights of reproduction or broadcasting of feature articles and factual data appearing in this journal under Section 12 (7) 
of the Copyright Act, 1978. Such reproduction or broadcasting may be authorised only by the publishers of Popular Mechanics. Published by RamsayMedia Pty Ltd for _ 

the Proprietors, Popular Mechanics (SA) Pty Ltd, Uitvlugt, Howard Drive, Pinelands, Western Cape. Distributed by RNA, 12 Nobel St, llndustria West, Johannesburg, and printed * 

Web offset litho by CTP Printers, Parow, Western Cape. Apple Mac support: Digicape tel 021 674-5000. CTP 



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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA • MAY 2012 



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